State lawmakers, pro sports teams, and casinos are already preparing for sports betting in Ohio. Expected to launch in January 2023, Ohio lawmakers are carefully drawing up regulations for sports wagering in the state. Ohio sports betting will be regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission once it goes live.
The commission has said that the plan for a January 2023 launch was a calculated one.
“It was an intentional choice,” said Jessica Franks, Communications Director for the commission. “To make sure we have time to implement the law the way it’s meant to be done.”
Applications for sports betting operating licenses will begin being accepted this summer or fall. However, the commission is still working out the kinks when it comes to regulating sports betting in the state.
“The Commission is currently in the process of drafting all of the various rules and applications,” said Franks.
JACK Entertainment prepares for both in-person and mobile sports betting in Ohio
As lawmakers work out the details, Ohio casinos have already begun preparations for providing sports betting in their facilities.
JACK Entertainment operates two of the state’s four casinos. Their planning began even before sports betting was legalized in Ohio. The JACK Cleveland Casino will begin construction soon on a first-floor retail sportsbook.
Adam Suliman is the Vice President of Sports and Digital with JACK Entertainment. says the sports betting location is a small-scale version of a Vegas venue.
“If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas and seen a sportsbook there,” he said. “You can take that and shrink it a little bit.”
Since a big portion of Ohio sports betting business is expected to be done online, JACK Entertainment also developed a mobile app.
In fact, they even launched the BetJack app this week to allow bettors to practice wagering on sports without using actual money. This pre–launch is a way to generate interest in the app from prospective future customers.
“This is essentially a free-to-play sportsbook,” Suliman explained. “It has all the different sports betting markets you would typically see in a real money environment, however it’s risk free.”
Suliman also expressed that he’s glad sports betting will launch early next year. This means business can be captured for college basketball.
“The tournament time is a huge time of year for sports betting,” he said.
Cleveland Cavaliers partner with Caesars in preparation for sports wagering launch
In another move of preparation for OH sports wagering being legalized, Caesars Sportsbook entered into a partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers in February.
A retail sportsbook is in the works for the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. This makes Caesars the “Official Sports Betting Partner” of the team.
The FieldHouse sportsbook will span over 10,000 square feet and will be located in the atrium on the ground level. It will have betting windows, a full-service bar and dining menu, television screens wall-to-wall, and even a VIP lounge.
Ohio residents are on board with OH sports betting
A recent poll by Emerson College gauged the opinions of Ohio residents regarding legal sports betting in the state. The poll found that the majority of Ohio citizens support legalizing sports wagering.
49.8% said betting on pro sports should definitely be legal in Ohio. 29.7% of those polled opposed legal sports wagering of any kind.
When it comes to legal wagers on college sports, however, the poll results looked quite different. Only 36.3% said betting on college sports should be legal while 48.7% opposed the practice.
Problem gambling is a concern for Ohio lawmakers
Despite the public’s concerns with betting on college sports, lawmakers have moved forward with Ohio sports betting legislation. There are still some concerns, however, which lie mainly in the issue of problem gambling.
“Gambling isn’t risk-free,” said Associate Director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, Mike Buzzelli. “It is certainly a form of safe entertainment for most, but some can develop problems.”
Buzzelli referenced issues that neighboring states experience now that sports betting is legal in those regions. He says that calls in those states to hotlines for problem gambling have gone up 50% in some cases after sports betting launched.
“Because it will be so available,” he said. “It takes those folks that may be on the verge of problematic play and it might tip them.”
Lawmakers are including some safety measures in their Ohio sports betting legislation to ensure problem gambling is addressed.
According to the new sports betting law, the state will allocate 2% of the revenue from sports wagering taxes to funds for preventing and treating problem gambling.