Ohio Sports Betting Operator Hopefuls May Soon See Draft Applications

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has released a draft of a Sports Gaming Proprietor License Application, seeking feedback from industry officials. The move is a necessary regulatory step in launching Ohio sports betting before the Jan. 1, 2023, deadline.

This initial draft is for a Type C license, which is for a sports gaming lottery product. The Type A license will be for online sports betting operators, and the Type B license is earmarked for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, as outlined in a presentation by the OCCC last December.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed sports betting into law on December 22, 2021. It enables people in Ohio to legally wager on sports under the authority of the OCCC and the Ohio Lottery. The law requires that it be implemented no later than the first day of 2023, though some observers are hopeful that the Ohio sports betting market will debut before or during the next college and professional football seasons.

The Licensing Application Process For Sports Betting In Ohio

According to details released last week from a meeting by the OCCC and Ohio Lottery, it could take as long as 179 days to move each batch of licensing applications through an eight-step approval process and finally to launch. The Type A and Type B license application drafts have yet to be issued, which raises the question as to when online sports betting could launch. A period of 179 days from May 1 would be Oct. 27, which would be well into football season. That’s if the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Licensing fees vary based on the type of license. The fees range from $2 million for a “mobile management service provider” for a five-year license, to $90,000 for a Type B licensee with certain qualifications based on the nature and size of the business.

The OCCC has published a set of criteria for assessing applicants, which includes Criminal History, Bankruptcy History, Reputation, Experience, & Financial Integrity, Tax Compliance Business Practice, Litigation History, Insurance and Surety Bonds, Compliance with Gaming-Related Laws & Regulations, and Public Confidence.

Given the deliberate pace of setting rules by the OCCC, it appears the state will have to scramble to meet the deadline to launch sports betting in Ohio.

Even as the OCCC seeks public comment on the applications, the guidelines for use of the licenses have yet to be established. It is known that several professional sports teams, including the Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Cavaliers, have expressed interest in partnering with a sportsbook to potentially offer either online sportsbook zones at their venues, or to have retail sportsbook betting kiosks or windows for fans.

Ohio law permits betting to anyone age 21 and older, and it does allow for wagering on collegiate sports.

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.