It has been more than a month since Ohio joined the growing ranks of legal sports betting states, but the timing of just when sports fans can start placing their bets remains elusive.
Gov. Mike DeWine officially legalized sports betting on Dec. 22 when he signed into law bill HB 29. The law states that the sports betting should launch no later than New Year’s Day 2023, but officials are no closer to announcing when it may actually commence within the state’s borders.
“We’re still in the process of drafting the rules,” said Jessica Franks, Ohio Casino Control Commission’s director of communications.
Neighboring states Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Michigan have all had some form of sports betting in place for some time. Kentucky is the lone state bordering Ohio where sports betting has not been legalized.
Drafting rules takes time
At this point, no one anticipates a legal sports bet will be placed in Ohio anytime soon. The process of drafting the rules figures to take between five to six months. And applications for sports betting operator licenses are not expected to be available until the summer or fall months.
That means Buckeye bettors must remain patient, even though DeWine’s stroke of a pen came less than two weeks after Ohio’s House and Senate passed HB 29 within hours of one another, following years of inaction. Those actions at the close of 2021 by Ohio’s state government leaders have led to the start of the kind of activity needed to get sports betting up and running at some point in 2022.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) signs bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio. The universal start date will be decided by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
That date must happen no later than January 1, 2023. pic.twitter.com/IT92WtDuk0
— Andy Chow (@andy_chow) December 22, 2021
The Ohio Casino Control Commission, which will regulate sports betting, has released proposed rules in two stages after presenting its Sports Gaming Presentation at the commission’s December meeting. The first batch, released Jan. 17, focuses on provisional licensing and testing standards. The second set, released this week, covers licensing for mobile and retail sportsbooks, general wagering provisions, and equipment.
The comment period for the first batch ends Jan. 28 and the comment period for the second group ends Feb. 4.
Commission meetings to be livestreamed
The Ohio Casino Control Commission is scheduled to hold its second meeting of the year on Feb. 16. Plans are in the works to begin livestreaming the meetings for public view, according to Franks. She said there’s plenty of interest in the progress being made to make sports betting available in Ohio.
“It’s been the number one request: ‘Can I watch your meetings?’” Franks said.
Currently, the commission’s schedule calls for meetings once a month, but Franks said that could become multiple times a month as it picks up the pace to make sports betting available.
Ohio sports betting timeline
The following are key dates in the state’s path toward joining neighbors in allowing residents to wager on wide-ranging professional and collegiate sports, both in retail locations and online:
Dec. 8, 2021 – House and Senate pass HB 29.
December 2021 – Ohio Casino Control Commission reveals Sports Gaming Presentation.
Dec. 22, 2021 – Gov. Mike DeWine signs HB 29 into law.
Jan. 17, 2022 – Ohio Casino Control Commission releases first batch of proposed rules.
Jan. 24. 2022 – Ohio Casino Control Commission releases second set of proposed rules.
Summer/fall – Applications for sports betting operator licenses are estimated to be made available during this time.
Jan. 1, 2023 – Deadline to have sports betting in operation.