Will Cornhole Betting be Included on Ohio Sports Betting Apps?

When sports betting launches in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023, you’ll find college football and pro football games to wager on — as well as basketball and many other traditionally popular sports.

But what about emerging sporting events like cornhole? Will professional cornhole leagues be on the list of approved betting wagers of Ohio sports betting apps?

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is busy establishing the rules for sports betting operators in the state. It’s anticipated that the OCCC will publish the rules and guidelines within months. The commission must also produce an official catalog of events and wagers, which would list all sports that bettors in Ohio can wager on legally.

According to Jessica Franks, Director of Communications for the OCCC, the commission will likely release the catalog this fall, a few months ahead of the New Year’s Day launch of the sports betting market.

Cornhole is rapidly spreading across the country, with some observers calling it a new national pastime. Many communities and parks and recreation departments are rethinking the use of public spaces, and cornhole courts are popping up everywhere. There’s even a professional league where competitors can walk away with thousands of dollars in prizes.

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Is Cornhole Being Considered for Betting in Ohio?

At least six states allow betting on cornhole. Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey all have professional cornhole listed as an acceptable competition for wagering.

Bettors in those states can wager on the American Cornhole League, which is popular enough that it has a broadcast deal with ESPN2.

We won’t know if Ohio will follow the example of neighboring Michigan to allow betting on the ACL, or whether state officials are considering it. No data is available to show the amount of money taken in on bets for professional cornhole in other states, but judging by the popularity of the sport for amateurs, it seems likely to swell as more fans are exposed to the game. Helped by ESPN and sponsored tournaments, the ACL is getting noticed by more people as well.

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What is the American Cornhole League?

The American Cornhole League was founded in 2015, and the following year it made its debut on ESPN3. Since then, the professional sport has seen a growth from dozens of pros to more than 25,000 competitors taking part in tournaments in 2020-21.

Prize money for the tour can be as high as $150,000 for a single event. In 2022, the Pro Division has a prize pool of $1 million.

In some ways, the ACL is following the blueprint of the U.S. Bowling Congress, which governs its sport, sets rules, and holds tournaments for amateurs in an effort to increase participation and grow the popularity of bowling.

The ACL splits the country into 15 geographic “conferences” where cornhole players compete to advance to national competitions. The best 16 players from each conference move on to the ACL Championship rounds. The final championship tournament will be held from Aug. 1-7 this year in Rock Hill, S.C.

The ACO (American Cornhole Organization), in conjunction with the ACL, also coordinates the Southern College Cornhole Championship, which pits college cornhole players against one another for a chance to win scholarship money.

ACL sponsors include Johnsonville sausage, Bush’s Best baked beans, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Many of the sponsors for the ACL are located in the Midwest and the South, where cornhole is growing in popularity the quickest, according to Trey Parker, Media Coordinator for the ACL.

“We see tremendous support for cornhole in Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, and the Midwest,” Parker told Ohio Sharp. “But the sport is gaining new players and fans all over the country.”

The league holds events in several states, including large tournaments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., both taking place in states that allow wagering on ACL competitions.

AP Photo/David Kohl

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.