Volleyball & Other Fringe Sports: When Can I Bet on Them in Ohio?

Written By Dan Holmes on April 26, 2024
Unique Ohio Sports Betting Options

Sports betting in Ohio has proved to be popular, generating tens of millions in tax revenue for the state. In January, taxable revenue from sports betting topped $100 million for the second time since the Buckeye State launched legal sports betting.

The volume of Ohio sports bets isn’t confined to pro and college football, pro and college basketball, baseball, ice hockey, and other popular sports. Ohio residents enjoy many athletic pursuits, and some enjoy placing bets on niche sports too.

Unique sports available to bet on in Ohio

Ohio sportsbooks continually assess the interest of their customers in other sports besides the “big four” in the United States (football, baseball, basketball, hockey). DraftKings, for example, has occasionally petitioned regulators to add sports when it gauges the level of betting interest has reached a target level for a market. In Massachusetts last month, regulators added women’s professional volleyball to the sports wagering list after a request from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Ohio already exhibited a willingness to amend its “Event and Wager Catalog​ue,” this February in a step to protect collegiate athletes.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced a sports betting rules update, eliminating player prop bets on NCAA athletes. Governor Mike DeWine supported the action, which came in response to a letter from NCAA president Charlie Baker earlier in February. As a result of the ruling by the OCCC, no bets may be placed on such things as “how many touchdowns a college player scores,” “how many points over/under a college basketball player” has, and so on.

Statutes R.C. 3775.02(C)(3) and Ohio Adm.Code 3775-11-01(D) govern the wagering types in Ohio, and may be added to and amended by the Ohio Casino Control Commission as needed.

So, which niche sports can Ohio sports fans currently bet on? Here’s a roundup of a few events and leagues.

Can I bet on cornhole in Ohio?

According to the Ohio Event and Wager Catalog​ue, betting on cornhole is not allowed in Ohio at this time.

Cornhole isn’t just for backyard barbecues. The American Cornhole League sanctions dozens of events nationwide and recently extended its programming deal with ESPN. Professionals compete in several tournaments with prizes totaling millions. But, as of yet, regulators have not approved this sport for betting in Ohio or anywhere else in the U.S., outside of a handful of retail sportsbooks in Nevada.

Ohio sports betting on table tennis

Table tennis, sometimes referred to as “ping pong,” is one of the most popular sports in the world, based on participation. It also has several top professional leagues overseas, where the best players compete.

As of now, Ohio does not allow wagering on professional table tennis leagues. However, plenty of traditional tennis wagering is available on the ATP Tour and WTA Tour. Ohio also permits team-wide wagers on NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis. College player prop betting, however, is not permitted, as Ohio led the charge to outlaw such activity in late March.

Volleyball betting in Ohio

Professional women’s volleyball is back in the U.S., with this first-year circuit featuring many of the top former college stars. Seven teams, ranging from San Diego to Grand Rapids, Michigan, are competing in a 24-week season. The championship, which will be played in volleyball-crazy Omaha in mid-May, will award a $1 million prize to the winning team.

As of now, Ohio sports bettors cannot wager on the Pro Volleyball Federation. However, after Massachusetts and other states added it to their approved lists, odds on the PVF will likely be available in the near future. The next season begins in January of 2025, with 10 teams.

In the meantime, Ohio sports bettors can legally wager on NCAA Division I men’s and women’s volleyball.

Can I bet on Pickleball in Ohio?

This upstart activity claims to be the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., albeit much to the consternation of some tennis players. But, pickleball has coaxed lots of folks, including many over 50, back onto the court and into physical activity. 

Yes, there is a pro tour for pickleball, under the auspices of the Professional Pickleball Association. Top players include No. 1 ranked female Anna Leigh Waters, and the No. 1 ranked male, Ben Johns.

Unfortunately, the sport of pickleball has yet to acquire sports betting status for its events in most states, including Ohio. This sport seems to need to grow a more extensive base of committed pro athletes to reach that level. In many cases, the sport is still seen as an amateur participation activity.

Slap fighting, ultimate Frisbee, & other sports

Two sports that multiple state sports betting agencies have discussed are ultimate disc and slap fighting. Both sports involve the necessary use of your hands, but besides that, they have very little in common. 

Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee have all been petitioned to add Slap Fighting Championship, the professional tour for that “sport.” Participants compete against each other, exchanging hard slaps to the face until one submits. As of yet, no state has approved slap fighting for wagering. However, plenty of legal Mixed Martial Arts wagering is available for UFC, PFL, and Bellator MMA events.

The American Ultimate Disc League operated for 12 seasons under that name. In 2024 they made a brand change to Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA), and nothing has changed: the sport is still thrilling and having success.

26 teams compete in the UFA, and like the PVF, the league has a television broadcast deal, and streams matches on YouTube. Many players have been competing in “Ultimate” for years, which makes this a sport where fans can develop an allegiance for their favorites.

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and West Virginia currently allow wagering on UFA. As of yet, no Ohio sportsbook has asked to add Ultimate Frisbee. But that could change if Ohio gets its own team.

Per Ohio rules on sports betting, any resident can ask to have a sport or sporting event added to the Event and Wager Catalog​ue. The request can be made by a sports betting operator, citizen, or the sports league itself.

Photo by Dreamstime / PlayOhio
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayOhio with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland, and the sports betting props — Prop 26 and Prop 27 — in California. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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