Is Ohio Sports Betting Legal?

Sports betting is, in fact, legal in the Buckeye State. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29 into law on Dec. 23, thereby legalizing sports betting within the state’s borders. The legalization of sports betting is the first hurdle a state must clear.

However, sports gambling must actually launch before residents can place wagers.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission will be responsible for overseeing the licensing process. Sportsbooks — both mobile and retail — must complete these steps en route to launching and being available to the market.

When Will Ohio Sports Betting Launch

There is no set timeline for when the first launch will occur. There are some clues prospective Ohio bettors can take into account though.

The OCCC does not expect to begin accepting applications from Ohio sports betting companies until summer 2022. However, there’s a more concrete date that provides additional context: Jan. 1, 2023.

The bill requires sports betting to launch by the new year. With that timeframe loosely in place, it’s reasonable to project a launch date in the fall of 2022. Strategically speaking, it would be beneficial for multiple sportsbooks to be available to Ohio bettors in time for the kick-off of the 2022 NFL season.

Will College Sports Betting Be Legal In Ohio?

Objectively speaking, the most important questions in Ohio should be focused on the eventual official launch of sports betting. However, we’re talking about the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, so outside observers can forgive Ohioans for getting a bit ahead of themselves.

Football is life in Ohio, and the Buckeyes may be the most popular football team in the state, though the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns have certainly made their presence felt in recent seasons. While some states prevent their residents from placing bets on in-state collegiate programs, Ohio will not place similar restrictions on their bettors.

Among the states that prohibit wagers on college sports are New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. Ohio bettors will be fortunate to avoid such constraints.

Additional Ohio Sports Betting Details

House Bill 29 allows for the OCCC to issue up to 25 licenses for mobile sportsbook apps. In comparison, New Jersey law has allowed for 23 licenses, and New York has issued nine. By allowing for 25 licenses, Ohio will open the door for big brands to enter the market as well as smaller, up-and-coming platforms.

Sports betting platforms have already struck partnership deals with local professional sports franchises in the state. The Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer struck a partnership deal with Tipico, naming the sportsbook its “official and exclusive” sports betting partner. Tipico has launched in New Jersey and Colorado and has deals in place to launch in Iowa and Indiana, so it’s a sports betting brand that is gradually expanding its footprint.

Meanwhile, Fubo Sportsbook became an official mobile betting partner of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA. The partnerships between these sports betting brands and some of Ohio’s professional sports franchises should build optimism and anticipation as the state continues progressing toward the official launch of mobile sports betting. They also provide a clue as to which platforms will become available to the market.

We’ll continue to monitor the developments leading to the official launch of in-person and mobile sports betting.

About the Author

Craig Williams

Craig Williams is a Charlotte-based sportswriter who has worked professionally in the gaming, fantasy, and sports business industries. He’s an avid fantasy football player, managing over 100 leagues across multiple formats. When he’s not pouring over Vegas odds and statistics, he’s indulging in soccer and enjoys anything from LigaMX to Champions League.