Ohio Retail Sportsbooks

Sports betting has been legalized in Ohio, and before long, residents will be able to place wagers at Ohio retail sportsbooks. One of the sportsbooks will be located at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, following their partnership with Caesars Sportsbook. More on this below, but first, it’s worth catching up on some of the general sports betting details that will apply to Ohioans and the brands that launch in the market.

House Bill 29 requires that all entities aiming to offer sports betting in Ohio apply for licenses with the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). Sportsbooks would be awarded a five-year license, and those licenses will be divided into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Type A License: This license will cost up to $2.5 million and will allow the operation of a mobile sports betting app. Pro sports teams, casinos, and racinos will have access to a Type A license. Entities granted a Type A license will be permitted to contract with up to two mobile sports betting platforms/providers. The first skin — or distinct brand — costs $3 million. The second skin costs $10 million, but the company must demonstrate that a second skin would add financial benefit without restricting another entity from securing a Type A license.

Type B License: These licenses will require a financial outlay of anywhere between $90,000 and $140,000. They’ll be available to retail stores. Ohio has already earmarked Type B licenses to companies within the state. One is reserved for a business near Cedar Point in Sandusky. Additionally, the counties of Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton have received the green light to host up to five locations. Summit and Montgomery counties can have up to three apiece.

Type C License: These licenses are for businesses that are working an unlimited number of bars and restaurants that have various liquor permits. They can only offer point spread, Over/Under, and moneyline wagers at kiosks.

Legal Sports Betting In Ohio

Sports betting is legal in Ohio. However, sports betting must launch before Ohioans can place wagers within the state. While there are not many firm checkpoints in place, one firm date has been established. HB29 requires that the first bet be made no later than January 1, 2023.

This provides one set date to keep in mind as we await for sports betting to launch. Until then, the state will continue to finalize details and regulations. Ohio will provide an initial set of 25 Type A licenses. Once those have been issued, the OCCC may opt to issue additional Type A licenses to eligible applicants. This would be reliant upon the determination that additional licenses would benefit the market.

Speaking more specifically on brick-and-mortar retail settings, professional sports franchises will be allowed to construct on-site sportsbooks at their team venues/stadiums. One such example will exist at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ home arena will serve as host to a 10,355-square-foot retail sportsbook located on the street level inside the arena’s northwest atrium.

The Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer also struck a deal in the sports gambling space, naming Tipico the club’s official and exclusive sports betting partner.

Time will tell what other moves teams in the state make on the sports betting partnership front. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League are two teams to watch in the coming months.

Here are some additional details from Ohio’s current proposed sports betting legislation:

  • A proposed 10% tax for all sports betting revenue.
  • Collegiate betting will be allowed in Ohio and on Ohio-based programs.
  • The Ohio Casino Control Commission will likely regulate the future industry.

Which Locations Will Partner With Online Sportsbooks?

Only certain locations, like Ohio retail casinos and racinos, professional sports venues, and mixed facilities that offer horseraces and other traditional casino activities, will be allowed to apply for Class A licenses and partner with mobile sportsbook operators.

Ohio currently has four retail casinos located in major cities like Cincinnati and Toledo:

  • Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
  • JACK Cleveland Casino
  • Hollywood Columbus Casino
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo

Additionally, there are seven race tracks that may pursue Class A licensure as soon as they can. Each of these locations already has slot machines, as well. The racetracks include these eight locations:

  • Belterra Park Gaming
  • JACK Thistledown Racino
  • MGM Northfield Park
  • Miami Valley Gaming & Racing
  • Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs
  • Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway
  • Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Finally, the partnership between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Caesars Sportsbook will include an on-location retail sportsbook. While it is the first partnership that includes a physical sportsbook within the stadium, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals could eventually follow suit.

The Types Of Bets Taken At Ohio Retail Sportsbooks

Once sports betting launches in Ohio, betting enthusiasts will be able to place a wide variety of wagers at either mobile or retail sportsbook locations. Type C licensees will be restricted to offering moneyline, point spread, and total (Over/Under) wagers.

Moneyline

Moneyline bets are easy to understand and popular wager types. They involve betting on which team out of two will win a given match. These are favorite bets for casual or new sports bettors who don’t want to dive too deep into the details of betting odds and algorithms. Ohio sports bettors may only be allowed to place these bets using mobile platforms rather than retail books.

Futures

Futures bets are long-term wagers that involve betting on the outcome of a future event, i.e. the winner of a division, playoff series, or championship such as March Madness or the NBA Finals. Like moneyline bets, these may end up only being available at Ohio’s mobile sportsbooks instead of its retail facilities.

Prop

Prop bets involve wagering on a specific event or outcome within a game, not necessarily the game’s victor. Prop bets are often player-centric, but they can involve teams as well. Examples of individual prop bets include betting on whether a player will score Over/Under a certain point total or if a pitcher will record Over/Under a set number of strikeouts. These are fun for bettors because it allows them to become invested in more elements of the game aside from the final outcome.

Parlay

Parlay bets are popular among experienced sports bettors and involve wagering on multiple single bets. Bettors have to win each “leg” of the bet in order to win the entire parlay wager. These can potentially result in massive payouts if the bettor is correct. Of course, with an increased reward come increased odds. The more legs on a parlay, the more likely one will lose, thereby eliminating the entire ticket.

Spread

Spread bets are similar to moneyline wagers but they’re more advanced because bettors are also incorporating the margin of victory or defeat.

  • Wagering that the underdog team will win a game outright or lose by less than a certain number of points, OR
  • Wagering that the favorite team will win a game by more than a set score.

A favorite is accompanied by a minus (-) sign. An underdog is accompanied by a plus (+) sign. If a team is listed at -3, it must win by no less than 4 in order to cover. On the other hand, an underdog who is listed at +3 will cover if it loses by no more than 2. If a team wins or loses by the spread number, it’s called a “push” and the bettor receives his or her money back. Many spreads are listed with a decimal, i.e. -3.5. The favorite still needs to win by at least 4 in order for the bet to win. However, the extra half-point on the spread eliminates the chance for a push.

Over/Under

Over/Under (also called totals) bets simply require bettors to wager on whether the combined score accumulated by both teams in a given game will be more or less than the number propositioned by the betting line. 

Ohio Sports Betting Guide

While sports betting is legal in Ohio, state residents continue to await its launch. In the meantime, we can provide Ohioans with an idea of what to expect when it becomes time to place those first legal wagers.

The 3 Best Online Sports Betting Apps In Ohio

Right now, there aren’t any guarantees about which sportsbooks will launch in Ohio. That being said, the three operators listed below are particularly likely given existing commercial deals with casino or racino companies:

  • DraftKings is one of the most likely operators to launch in Ohio, as it already provides Ohio residents with daily fantasy sports via its mobile app. However, it may launch either retail or mobile sports betting (or both) in the Buckeye State since it has a deal with Penn National Gaming. Penn already owns four gambling properties throughout Ohio (two casinos and two racinos); it would be easy for this company to simply sign DraftKings as its sole mobile sports betting provider.
  • BetMGM is another potential shoo-in for sports wagering operation. It’s a growing company and, more importantly, has a foothold in Ohio through MGM Resorts International, which owns both an off-track betting parlor and a racetrack/racino. Thus, BetMGM may be one of the first online sportsbooks to launch.
  • FanDuel, DraftKings’ major rival, is also operating in Ohio by offering daily fantasy sports. More importantly, this operator has a commercial relationship with Boyd Gaming, which itself owns the racetrack Belterra Park. FanDuel may launch mobile sports wagering sooner rather than later.

Ohio Sports Betting Timeline

The road to sports betting within Ohio’s state borders saw a major jump in December 2021 when Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29 into law, thereby legalizing sports betting.

While prospective sports bettors in the Buckeye State are still awaiting for the launch of sports betting, those who have followed the progress have reason to be encouraged. There aren’t currently many hard dates set for exactly when Ohio bettors will be able to make their first wagers. Estimates suggest that Ohioans will be able to make their first bets by early fall. One hard date does exist, however. The bill states that betting must launch by January 1, 2023.

  • May 6, 2021 – The Ohio Select Committee on Gaming announced SB 176: the long-awaited initial legislation for Ohio’s sports betting industry.
  • May 12, 2021 – The Committee revised some provisions in the bill, such as enabling Class A license holders to partner with unlimited operators.
  • June 30, 2021 – Target date for sports betting discussions to be finished and legislation to be signed.
  • December 22, 2021 — Gov. Mike DeWine signs House Bill 29 into law.
  • Jan 1, 2023 – Deadline for sports betting to launch in Ohio.

Is It Legal To Bet On Sports Outside Of Legal Sportsbooks In Ohio?

It is now legal to bet on sports in Ohio, but residents must await the official launch of sports betting within the state. However, not only is it illegal to bet offshore or at unregulated sportsbooks, but it’s highly recommended against. Sports betting is expected to launch by January 1, 2023 at the latest — the law states that it must launch by that date. And even though prospective bettors may be itching to place their first wagers, it’s not worth taking illegal measures to do so. Not when it’s so close to arriving.

Ohio residents will be able to wager on sports using mobile sportsbooks from licensed operators. These books will be available from anywhere within Ohio state lines provided the user is over the age of 21.

Ohio Sports Betting FAQs

Will bettors be able to place wagers at Ohio Retail Sportsbooks and Online Sportsbooks?

Sports bettors will be able to place sports bets both at retail sportsbooks located at sports arenas and on mobile sportsbook platforms partnered with casinos and racinos. Depending on how the final steps of the regulation process plays out, bettors may also be able to put money down using sportsbooks at small businesses like bowling alleys and certain restaurants or bars.

When will sports betting likely start in Ohio?

The state government has listed January 1, 2023 as the deadline for sports betting to launch. However, it’s possible that the launch could occur sometime in early fall around the start of football season. However, it’s unlikely that it would occur prior to that point.

Can you bet on horse racing at Ohio’s sportsbooks?

Not yet, but you likely will be able to. You can already place bets on horse races at the racetracks scattered throughout Ohio.

How old will you have to be to enter an Ohio sportsbook or use a mobile sportsbook?

The legal age for gambling in Ohio is 21.

Do you have to pay taxes on winnings from sports betting in Ohio?

Yes. Bettors will be required to pay a 10% tax rate on all sports betting winnings. 

Will live betting or in-game betting be offered at Ohio's sportsbook locations?

Yes. Many of the major operators likely to launch in Ohio already offer in-game betting in other states with legal sports betting industries. It’s unlikely that Ohio will ban these types of wagers, at least for their mobile platforms.

Are there any Ohio casinos with sportsbooks?

Not yet, but you can rest assured that each of the four retail casinos in Ohio will partner with at least one mobile sportsbook operator once the industry launches. Many of them will likely have multiple partners. Additionally, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, will host a Caesars Sportsbook in the arena.

Is DraftKings offering sports betting in Ohio?

Not yet, but this operator already provides daily fantasy sports to Ohio residents and is among the operators most likely to launch sports betting when the time comes.

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.