Ohio is making strides in its quest to launch Ohio mobile sports betting before the mandated deadline of Jan. 1, 2023, according to Sara Slane, a Sports Betting Hall of Fame inductee with experience at the American Gaming Association who advises clients in the Buckeye state as they develop strategies to gain a solid foothold in the industry.
Among other developments during the regulatory process, the Ohio Casino Control Commission recently updated its proposed rules for mobile and retail sports betting and sent them out for public comment. It is at least the second time the OCCC has requested public comment on its rules. The OCCC oversees the licensing process for sportsbooks in the state.
Considering that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine only signed the bill into law in December, Ohio’s progress is fairly remarkable in the sports betting industry.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but maybe we’ll see something in the fourth quarter of 2022 in Ohio,” said Slane, whose work as the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of the American Gaming Association played a pivotal role in the campaign to overturn the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. “It’s a long time coming. They were one of the last remaining pieces in the Midwestern section (of the US) to not have sports betting.
“It’s a big gaming state, and it already has a huge casino and pari-mutuel presence. I’m super bullish on Ohio.”
Ohio Sports Betting Could Bring Massive Tax Revenue
A recent study on sports betting in Ohio estimated that the total handle will range between $9-11 billion by the third year of operation. The projections for state tax revenue ranged between $70 million and $90 million annually.
If those projections are accurate, Ohio would have no problem becoming one of the most profitable states in terms of sports betting tax revenue. Ninety-eight percent of tax revenue is earmarked for public and private education from K-12.
“I think it’s going to be a really good state for the industry, and certainly for all the constituents that live there that want to bet on Ohio State games now legally,” Slane said with a laugh.
Competing With Illegal Sportsbooks
Slane, a Toledo native, has worked with a coalition of teams based in her home state. With a professional background heavily rooted in politics and legislation, Slane likes what she has seen as the reality of legal sports betting nears, noting that Ohio has done “an amazing job from a policy and regulatory perspective.”
An important aspect of what Ohio has done, Slane said, is giving the legal sportsbooks a fighting shot against the illegal sportsbooks that have had a monopoly on the Ohio market.
“They’ve seen those numbers decline, and my hope is that happens as well in Ohio,” she said. “A lot of people don’t even realize that they’re betting illegally. They don’t even know what they’re doing is illegal. I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s going to drive down that illegal market and get consumers to pivot (to legal sportsbooks).”