Ohioans can finally circle a date on the calendar when they’ll be able to bet on sports in Ohio: Jan. 1, 2023.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday announced the universal start date for sports betting in Ohio. The commission last week hinted that sports betting in Ohio would not launch much earlier than the original Jan. 1 deadline, if at all.
There had been hope that Ohio could complete the application and rulemaking process in time to catch some of the 2022 NFL season. But the commission says that will not be the case.
“It will be a very busy fall and winter both for the operators, prospective applicants and the commission,” said Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. “There’s a lot to do between now and then.”
Schuler acknowledged that online operators have fewer preparations and could potentially be ready to launch earlier. But the law requires all operators to launch at the same time, and other operators still have to complete build outs, distribute kiosks, hire and train employees and establish partnerships, among other tasks.
What does the Ohio sports betting start date mean?
Since Jan. 1 is a Sunday with a packed slate of NFL games, the Ohio sports betting market will start off hot.
The Cleveland Browns visit the Washington Commanders on the first day betting is live, while the Cincinnati Bengals host the Buffalo Bills the following night on Monday Night Football.
A recent PlayOhio analysis estimates that the state will bring in $130 million per week in NFL betting volume.
Ohio can expect to bring in around $780 million during the early part of 2023 thanks to the final two weeks of the NFL season, three playoff weeks and the Super Bowl.
What is Ohio missing out on by delaying launch?
However, the Jan. 1 launch also means the market will miss out on $1.04 billion of betting handle from the first eight weeks of the NFL season. Our estimates say that means a loss in $56 million of revenue and upwards of $5.6 million in tax money for the state.
Plus, even boosting the state date up one month to Dec. 1 would have resulted in an additional $520 million in bets, $28 million in revenue and around $2.8 million million in state tax money from NFL betting.
The date also means Ohio could miss out on the entire Ohio State football season. The College Football Playoff semifinals will again be contested on Dec. 31 this year. The Buckeyes may need to make it all the way to the Jan. 10 CFP final to have a legal in-state bet placed on them.
Ohio’s sports betting market will be big
Ohio’s sports betting environment is the envy of neighboring states. With a competitive online environment, buy-in from existing stakeholders and minimal restrictions on markets, Ohioans can expect a bevy of options and sign-up bonuses, especially in the early-going.
The Ohio sports betting market is expected to grow into one of the top-three in the U.S. PlayOhio projects that Ohio could generate $9 billion to $12 billion in total annual handle within the first couple of years.
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.
Ohio will become the 32nd state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize sports betting — provided states such as Kansas or Maryland don’t launch sports betting sooner.
What’s next for Ohio sports betting?
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 Ohio Casino Control Commission. State residents can also expect a parade of Ohio sports figures to appear at in-person events on Jan. 1 at the state’s four casinos and other venues where folks 21 years or older will be able to bet on sports.
The commission will be accepting applications for online sportsbooks, retail sportsbooks and bars and restaurants operating betting terminals through the Ohio Lottery Commission over the next two months.
The Ohio Lottery will soon start releasing the names of bars and restaurants that are pre-qualified to host businesses that are granted license for sports betting kiosks. Sportsbook employees still need to be licensed as well.
Partnerships between professional sports teams in Ohio and mobile sports betting apps are already trickling in. These will ramp up with clarity on the start date and as more licenses are awarded.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s sports betting law, HB 29, on Dec. 22, 2021. The law stipulated that the state must launch sports betting by Jan. 1, 2023.
It turns out, that’s exactly when Ohio’s sports betting market will kick off.