How Ohio Sports Bettors Will Be Protected From Illegal Sportsbooks

When Ohio sports betting launches on Jan. 1, 2023, customers will have a regulated, safe market for an activity that provides millions of people with enjoyment across the country.

Licensed sportsbooks and the ease of mind that brings to customers who enjoy sports wagering are a great benefit of a responsible industry. It also does a lot in the fight to eliminate illegal sportsbooks that prey on consumers in Ohio and elsewhere.

How Illegal Sportsbooks Are Unsafe

While not every state has legalized sports betting, those that have it often cite the desire to protect consumers as a primary reason. That’s because wagering offshore or with illegal sportsbooks is dangerous. Fraud is just one reason. Some offshore operators have also been convicted of other criminal activities, so when you do business with these rogues, you may be funding other illicit behavior.

Some states have laws that make it illegal to wager with offshore betting companies: Michigan and Nevada are examples. In that way, not only are citizens encouraged to use a legal sportsbook, but they are actually breaking the law if they do otherwise.

An offshore bookie is not required to commit to responsible gaming and does not fall under laws governing the protection of consumer funds, and there are real dangers with data privacy because usually, we don’t even know who the illegal bookmakers are and what they might do with sensitive customer data.

The challenge for Ohio and other states is education. According to research by the American Gaming Association, in 2019 55% of gamblers who used an illegal sportsbook thought they were betting legally.

Illegal sportsbooks will make themselves appear legitimate, but consumers should be wary, especially of sports betting offers and marketing from brands they are unaware of, or those that seem generic and too good to be true.

Due to the increase in offshore illegal sportsbooks since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to clear the way for sports betting nationwide, many consumers have been seeking legal options, and for good reason.

According to a 2020 study by the AGA, the top reasons consumers move from an unregulated illegal market to a legal market are:

  • Confidence that bets will be paid.
  • Awareness of their legal options.
  • Desire to use a regulated sportsbook.

Big-time help: Ohio sports betting tax calculation change helps sportsbooks

Protections In Ohio Sports Betting Laws

A regulated sports betting market means the governing body provides safeguards to protect its citizens. In the case of Ohio, only well-vetted, reputable sports betting operators will be granted the license to do business.

Should there be disputes between a sportsbook and its customers over a wager or payment of a wager, the state has processes in place that allow for grievances and legal recourse if necessary. A sportsbook can also be fined or have its license suspended for violations.

Ohio will work with technology partners and licensed sports betting operators to ensure that mobile apps adhere to laws governing where they can operate, and also how they can market to customers. Most states have laws that limit how promotions and bonuses can be used with customers, protecting against false promises or misleading verbiage.

The website for the Ohio Casino Control Commission has detailed information about responsible gambling, and it will also list the licensed operators approved by the state for a license.

All states, including Ohio, will issue a list of the sporting events consumers are allowed to wager on. This protects the public from being lured into betting that revolves around events that can be easily manipulated or disputed. An example would be whether a jet flyover of a football stadium goes east-to-west or west-to-east, or the length of the National Anthem performance, and so on. With regulated betting markets, you are only betting on outcomes that will be decided by the competition in the sport.

Ohio will have a gambling hotline and resource center, and it also requires by law that every gaming operator establishes a “self-exclusion” list so consumers can remove themselves from being able to wager if they deem they have an addiction.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.