Ohio Sports Betting

Online sports betting is expected in Ohio, but not live as of yet. This page will be updated with the latest news, odds and promos once Ohio sportsbooks are live. 

For the past few years, Ohio has been under the spotlight as a premier state that could legalize sports betting.

Yet lawmakers have taken their time to do so. After a busy 2020 session that nearly resulted in legislative approval, Ohio kicked up the urgency in 2021.

Stands to reason. The Buckeye State obviously boasts a passionate fanbase and a number of noteworthy professional franchises and college programs.

On top of that, four of the five states that border Ohio have legalized and launched online and retail sports betting.

Could Ohio join the group in the near future? As it has for several years, Ohio remains in the spotlight.

When will Ohio legalize sports betting?

A familiar tune for Ohioans, the bill is once again being batted around Columbus.

After gathering testimony from a number of parties and stakeholders regarding legalization and how the industry would operate, the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming came up with a bill.

Lawmakers from the House and Senate are now in a dead sprint to pass the bill by the end of 2021. If all goes well, Ohio could legalize sports betting before the year’s session ends in mid-December, though the session could even extend into 2022.

Considering the House passed a bill in 2020 before stumbling in the Senate, and Senate leadership created this committee on gaming, the table is set for 2021 legalization. Especially since Gov. Mike DeWine has expressed heavy support for doing so.

As for the launch, it all depends on the framework proposed and the pace at which sports betting legislation gets through both chambers. Having the Ohio Casino Control Commission already in place could help speed up the process of application review and licensing. Certainly, the timeline relies on a number of variables. In theory, though, Ohio sports betting could join its neighboring industries by going live in time for football season in 2022.

Latest updates on Ohio sports betting

UPDATED: Nov. 16, 2021

For those interested in the latest developments on Ohio sports betting, WHBC-1480 AM has become appointment listening every Monday morning.

That’s when Sen. Kirk Schuring has a weekly interview and addresses the latest on the bill’s status. The senator from Canton always strikes a positive tone, and this week was no different.

Schuring pushed some blame to his House counterparts during the interview but also expressed optimism that the bill would pass this year.

Still, it would be some time after passage before bets would be placed in the Buckeye State sometime in 2022.

What could Ohio sports betting look like?

How sports betting in Ohio will operate remains to be seen. However, based on previous proposals, it would appear as if state lawmakers would prioritize the state’s four casinos and seven racinos as operators of regulated sports betting.

Such an approach has been taken by the four states with regulated betting that border Ohio: IndianaMichiganPennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Not only would properties house retail sportsbooks, but it would make sense to allow those operators to launch online sports betting apps. How many skins each property would be afforded would be a point of debate. Previous proposals have varied between one and three mobile sportsbooks. Time will tell how the Senate committee approaches the topic and how the total ultimately stands.

Beyond casinos and racinos, if the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming hearings are any indication, it appears as if everyone wants a piece of the sports betting pie.

The likes of the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and FC Cincinnati have requested to be included as potential sports betting licensees in Ohio. This would allow the organizations to open retail sportsbooks in or around their respective stadiums and launch betting apps. Such legislation has passed in Illinois, Virginia, and Washington, DC, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility to integrate Ohio pro teams.

Other suggestions aren’t as realistic.

During one hearing, for example, a representative from the Ohio Grocers Association asked the committee to consider allowing the state’s 600 grocery stores offering lottery tickets to also offer sports betting.

Similar ideas emerged to authorize wagering at Ohio bars, taverns, and bowling alleys.

However lawmakers decide to spread the Ohio sports betting wealth, there remains the possibility that they ban collegiate betting in the state.

That could obviously be a big hit in a state featuring the likes of Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, not to mention six other FBS programs as well as five additional Division I universities.

The president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, speaking on behalf of the state’s 14 public universities, asked lawmakers to not allow collegiate betting. That said, the House bill that passed in 2020 authorized wagering on collegiate events.

Where could I bet on sports in Ohio?

Again, it all depends on how lawmakers get into the specifics of how Ohio sports betting will look.

While the Ohio Lottery and retailers have lobbied to be authorized to offer regulated wagering, the more likely industry would center around Ohio casinos and racinos.

If that’s the case, bettors could find retail sportsbooks at the following properties:

  • Casinos
    • Hollywood Casino Columbus
    • Hollywood Casino Toledo
    • JACK Casino Cincinnati
    • JACK Casino Cleveland
  • Racinos
    • Belterra Park
    • Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway
    • Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
    • JACK Thistledown Racino
    • MGM Northfield Park
    • Miami Valley Gaming
    • Scioto Downs

Say lawmakers also go the route of including pro teams, allowing those franchises to set up retail sportsbooks in or around their respective venues. If this were the case, the following teams and stadiums might consider taking advantage:

  • Cincinnati Bengals: Paul Brown Stadium
  • Cincinnati Reds: Great American Ball Park
  • Cleveland Browns: FirstEnergy Stadium
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
  • Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Nationwide Arena
  • Columbus Crew: Mapfre Stadium
  • FC Cincinnati: Nippert Stadium

Another possibility, in theory, runs similar to a proposal made in Arizona, which would allow golf courses that regularly host PGA Tour events to get in on the golf betting action. This would open the door for Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, home to the annual Memorial Tournament since 1976.

Closest places for Ohioans to sports bet

As noted, while Ohio awaits legalization, four neighboring states have launched legalized sports betting in recent years. Until Buckeye State lawmakers green-light regulated wagering, these states remain Ohio bettors’ best options.

Indiana

After launching legal sports betting in 2019, Indiana boasts 14 retail sportsbooks and 10 online betting apps, with brands including the popular DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, and William Hill.

As for brick-and-mortar operations, just outside Cincinnati and across the Ohio River sit both Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg (PointsBet) and Rising Star Casino Resort (TwinSpires).

Fortunately, with online sports betting legal in Indiana, Ohioans can download their betting apps of choice, set up accounts and simply cross the Indiana border to place their bets.

Michigan

Similar to Indiana, Michigan has an array of retail and online sports betting options. To boot, many of the sportsbooks operating in Indiana expanded to Michigan, which went live with regulated wagering in 2020.

With 14 betting apps available, there’s no shortage of online betting options in Michigan, which also features nearly 20 retail sportsbooks.

The closest brick-and-mortar options are in Detroit. There, the city’s three commercial casinos have unveiled retail sportsbooks: Greektown Casino Hotel (Barstool Sports), MGM Grand Detroit (BetMGM), and MotorCity Casino (FanDuel Sportsbook).

Pennsylvania

The Keystone State waited only a few months after PASPA fell to launch regulated wagering in the state. Since going live in 2018, Pennsylvania has introduced 13 retail sportsbooks and 12 betting apps.

Again, well-known operators have opened up shop in Pennsylvania, including DraftKings Sportsbook, which also has the nearest retail sportsbook to Ohioans.

Located in Washington, just a few miles east, DraftKings branded the brick-and-mortar sportsbook at The Meadows Casino that rests smack-dab in the middle of the casino floor.

West Virginia

Like its northern neighbor, West Virginia entered the legal sports betting world in 2018 and now features five retail sportsbooks and four betting apps.

The online betting landscape in West Virginia features DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel SportsbookBetMGM, and William Hill.

The state’s two closets brick-and-mortars to Ohio can actually be seen from the western bank of the Ohio River. In New Cumberland is West Virginia’s farthest northern property, Mountaineer Casino, which boasts a William Hill retail book.

Just to the south, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack features a physical sportsbook powered by IGT.

History of Ohio sports betting laws

Ohio lawmakers have appeared more urgent in 2021, though they remain meticulous. As the Senate Select Committee on Gaming prepares to draft a bill to forward along to the Senate, there is a chance a proposal could make it to the House before the summer break.

This all comes on the heels of an up-and-down 2020 that ultimately ended in disappointment.

It took nine hearings for the House Finance Committee to advance a sports betting bill. A day later, just before the summer recess, the House passed the bill.

Yet efforts ultimately fell short. There were differing opinions from the Senate on how Ohio sports betting should work, for starters. But lawmakers also had to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, not only on how to recoup financially but also prioritizing other bills because of pandemic-shortened sessions.

Of course, a federal bribery case further complicated matters, as former Speaker of the House Larry Householder took center stage in a scandal that centered mostly around a state-funded bailout for an Akron nuclear power company. While the controversy did not directly involve Ohio sports betting efforts, some hotel developers Householder met with allegedly wanted to add an amendment to sports betting legislation. This no doubt created angst for lawmakers, who became more hesitant to legalize the industry.

In 2019, both H 194 and S 111 were introduced by lawmakers. The respective House and Senate bills proposed different regulators, with the House tabbing the Ohio Lottery Commission and the Senate claiming the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Throughout the year, government leaders split on bill support, including Gov. Mike DeWine, who sided with the Senate proposal. Yet both bills ended with the same fate: falling short of legalization.

Ohio Sports Betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Ohio?

No. Lawmakers have worked on legalizing sports betting in Ohio, including in 2021 with a Senate committee drafting a bill to advance to the Senate. For now, though, the industry remains illegal in the Buckeye State.

When will Ohio legalize sports betting?

The Senate will likely consider a draft bill to forward along to the House before the legislative summer break at the end of June. When lawmakers return in September, it’s likely sports betting will become a hot topic of discussion. Theoretically, regulated wagering could be legalized before the 2021 session ends in mid-December.

Will Ohio sports betting integrate pro teams in the state?

It’s possible. Representatives from several pro teams in Ohio requested the Senate Select Committee on Gaming to include the organizations as potential sports betting licensees. If lawmakers go this route, it is possible these franchises could open retail sportsbooks in or around their respective stadiums or even partner with sports betting operators to launch betting apps.

Will I be able to bet on Ohio colleges?

It’s unclear at the moment. A sports betting bill out of the House in 2020 would have authorized collegiate betting. In early 2021, however, the president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, which represents 14 public universities in Ohio, requested lawmakers to ban collegiate betting.

I see some sites that say they accept online bets from Ohio. Are those legal options?

No. Sites that say they accept online bets from Ohio operate outside of state and federal jurisdictions. These platforms may seem like reasonable alternatives since Ohio hasn’t legalized sports betting, but they do not offer the same consumer protections as legal sportsbooks do in neighboring states.

Is daily fantasy sports legal in Ohio?

Yes. Ohio became the 18th state to legalize daily fantasy sports when then-Gov. John Kasich signed off on the bill in 2018. The Ohio Casino Control Commission overseeds DFS in Ohio, which features DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo!