At least we now know when we’ll know.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission detailed on its website that we’ll know on June 1 when sports betting in Ohio will launch.
The date “is likely to be close to, if not exactly on, January 1, 2023,” according to an update to the FAQ section of the OCCC website.
Sports betting in Ohio will include online platforms, retail sportsbooks and betting terminals through the Ohio Lottery. The market is expected to be a monster in the industry.
Virtually every major online sports betting operator should be ready for the opening with plenty of lead-up time to secure licenses and gain approval from the OCCC.
What’s the Ohio sports schedule after Jan. 1?
A Jan. 1 launch would be during Week 17 of the NFL season. That’s 16 weeks of NFL football lost for the market. According to a PlayOhio analysis, the state will lose $130 million in sports betting handle per NFL week lost, in addition to the accompanying missed revenue and tax haul.
Of note: The Cleveland Browns will play at Washington on Sunday, Jan. 1. The Cincinnati Bengals are playing host to Buffalo on Monday Night Football on Jan. 2. Both teams close their regular seasons on Jan. 8.
A Jan. 1 launch would also mean Ohio State fans can’t bet on the annual Michigan game, which is Nov. 26 in Columbus. The College Football Playoff semifinals will be on Dec. 31 with the championship game coming Jan. 9.
What is holding up Ohio sports betting launch?
The OCCC detailed on the FAQ the amount of work that needs to be put into a careful launch.
Ohio is undertaking the largest gaming expansion in its history and largest ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the United States, with all eligible online applications, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and kiosks in bars and taverns eligible to start on the exact same date. If industry estimates are to be believed, this will necessitate detailed due diligence investigations and ensure compliance requirements of approximately 3,000 applications in time for the Universal Start Date.
The FAQ also said the market will miss the start of the NFL season and the MLB World Series, which was already known based on the timeline of the rulemaking process.
How big will Ohio sports betting market be?
The Ohio sports betting market will likely surpass neighbors such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, which already have sports betting live.
As PlayOhio data analyst Eric Ramsey reports, part of that is because of a favorable environment engineered by Ohio lawmakers. Ohio is also the seventh-most populated state with nearly 12 million residents.
PlayOhio projects that between $9 billion and $12 billion will be wagered annually on sports in Ohio after a year of market maturation. That figure would place revenue in the high nine figures, somewhere between $650 million and $850 million each year. With a 10% tax rate, Ohio should rake in more than $50 million in tax revenue after promotional deductions are factored in.
In addition to the District of Columbia, more than half of U.S. states have launched some form of sports betting. For now, Ohio could be next in the queue. But with all the lead-up time until Jan. 1, it’s possible states such as Kansas or Maryland could beat the Buckeye State to the punch.
Starting June 15, the OCCC will begin accepting applications from sports betting operators. Regulators drafted five batches of rules and are moving them through Ohio’s rulemaking process.
How did Ohio sports betting come to be?
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio on Dec. 22, 2021. This followed a years-long process that included many stops and starts. But Ohio ended up with a law that is held up as exemplary throughout the industry.
The law included a provision that the sports betting launch to take place before Jan. 1, 2023.
The launch just might take up all that time; we’re learning.