State regulators have decided that regulated sports betting in Ohio will commence on January 1, 2023.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission also said that it will begin accepting applications from sports betting operators, service providers, and suppliers beginning June 15.
“This date was chosen to give all stakeholders time to start offering sports gaming on the same date — including businesses looking to offer online and brick-and-mortar sports gaming, as well as kiosks in bars and taverns across Ohio,” the OCCC said Wednesday.
The agency said it hopes to have all documentation submitted by November 2 and equipment verified by December 2 before the big launch at year’s end.
Online Sportsbook Operators Must Have Retail Operations As Well
HB 29, the gaming bill that Ohio lawmakers passed and which Governor Mike DeWine signed into law in December, authorizes the OCCC to issue 25 mobile sports betting (aka Type A) licenses as well as 40 retail (Type B) licenses.
An unspecified number of licenses (Type C) for self-service or clerk-operated lottery terminals can also be issued by the regulator. Such kiosks, owned and operated by a sports betting operator or the Ohio Lottery Commission, are planned for bars and restaurants throughout the state and will serve as lottery sports gaming terminals.
The OCCC will also license mobile management service providers (MMSPs), management service providers (MSPs), and suppliers looking to work with Type A, B, and C license holders.
Under HB 29, a Type A licensed operator must also hold a license and operate a Type B facility — meaning online sportsbooks are also required to open a retail sportsbook somewhere in the state.
Regulator Knows Some Operators Could Launch Sooner, But Must Wait
The OCCC released a sports gaming implementation timeline to serve as a guidance document for the upcoming launch.
The first application window for Type A, B, and C operators, first designated MMSPs, MSPs, and suppliers opens on June 15 and closes on July 15. The regulator will then open a second application window for Type C operators and second designated MMSPs beginning on July 15 and ending on August 15.
Compliance documents — including responsible gaming plans, geolocation procedures, and other house rules — can be submitted beginning on August 1, but the OCCC wants them submitted by November 2. All standard sports gaming employee applications must also be submitted by November 2.
“Leading up to the universal start date, prospective licensees will be completing buildings, distributing kiosks, hiring and training employees, obtaining partners, and making all other necessary arrangements to begin offering sports gaming from the same starting line,” the OCCC said.
“The Commission is aware that some stakeholders, specifically many online operators, have fewer preparations to make leading up to launch and could start sooner. However, pursuant to HB 29, all forms of sports gaming must have the opportunity to launch on the exact same date.”
Jack Entertainment Offers Free Sportsbook to Build Brand Awareness
Ohio will levy a tax rate of 10% on sports betting revenue. The OCCC also said it has about 3,000 applications to process before the market launches on January 1, 2023. The agency said its review will require “detailed due diligence investigations, as well as comprehensive compliance examinations.”
HB 29 also allows sports betting operators to recruit players and build brand awareness before the market launches, so long as they are not placing actual wagers.
Jack Entertainment, which owns and operates the Jack Cleveland Casino and the Jack Thistledown Racino, launched a free sportsbook under its betJACK brand on May 19.
While most college football bowl games will be over by January 1, 2023, there will be a few marquee events to wager on, including the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the National Championship game.
Ohioans will be able to place wagers on all but one of the NFL games in Week 17 and all of the action in Week 18. Super Bowl LVII looms large on February 12, 2023.