Ohio Sports Betting
Good news! The debut of legal sports betting in Ohio is simply a matter of time. Ohio legislators in both chambers approved House Bill 29 in December 2021 and it was signed shortly thereafter by Gob. Mike DeWine.
At this point, the biggest question revolves around the timing of the launch. According to the law, the Ohio Casino Control Commission must complete its preparations and get sports betting underway no later than Jan. 1, 2023. One state senator recently said he expects sports betting in Ohio to launch sometime this fall.
The subject of Ohio sports betting should be an interesting and exciting issue throughout 2022, and we will update this page as quickly and as often as we can. Read on for all the latest on sports betting in the Buckeye State.
Latest Ohio sports betting updates
UPDATED: May 18, 2022
The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced that the launch of sports betting in Ohio “is likely to be close to, if not exactly on, January 1, 2023.”
Some Ohio legislators had speculated that Ohio could launch sometime during the fall based on the progress the OCCC has made in approving rules and regulations.
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.
When will Ohio sports betting launch?
The deadline is no later than Jan. 1, 2023. The Ohio sports betting law (technically, a series of amendments) took the step of specifying an absolute maximum amount of time that its chosen regulator, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, could spend in preparation for the debut.
The commissioners, for their part, have indicated they plan to use every bit of their allotted time. So, although the launch could technically occur at any point, a more realistic estimate would be the first day of 2023.
Follow PlayOhio‘s live updates page for the latest launch news in Ohio.
Sports Betting in the News
Is sports betting legal in Ohio?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Ohio though no apps or sportsbooks have launched yet. The enabling legislation was signed into law in December 2021 by Gov. Mike DeWine.
What apps will come to Ohio?
As we mentioned, Ohio sports betting law allows for both online and retail sports betting. Obviously, until the OCCC lays out the exact rules and order for licensing — to say nothing of the issuance of the licenses — we won’t know exactly who is coming to provide sports betting for Ohioans. However, based upon several factors both inside and outside the state, we are confident that the following sportsbooks are the most likely candidates to launch in Ohio.
- Connection to Ohio: Daily fantasy sports provider
FanDuel Sportsbook has risen from its humble beginnings as a DFS provider to become one of the top sportsbooks in the US. It is the market leader or near the top of the market in several states and has distinguished itself with its easy-to-use software and its same-game parlay options.
- Connection to Ohio: Daily fantasy sports provider
DraftKings also has left its status as a mere DFS company in the rearview mirror in the past few years. It has been one of the most successful corporate stories since sports betting began to spread through the US in 2018, and has been one of the first apps to launch in almost every new sports betting state. The DraftKings sportsbook app stands out from the crowd through its cash-out options and its betting carousel, the latter of which personalizes each player’s app experience like few other sportsbooks.
- Connection to Ohio: Owner of MGM Northfield Park
BetMGM Sportsbook is the sports betting wing of casino giant MGM Resorts International. Its recognizable brand name and easy ability to complement the offerings at MGM’s many land-based properties make it a popular choice in many areas. BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio itself yields more control to players’ open wagers than other sportsbooks with its “edit my bet” feature.
- Connection to Ohio: Owner of Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs
Caesars Sportsbook is a bit of a misnomer due to the fact that while it is the sportsbook representing the casino chain of the same name, it is also the home of the former Eldorado Resorts and William Hill brands. Because of Caesars’ 2020 merger with Eldorado, it gained a key foothold in Ohio through one of the state’s racinos. Caesars sportsbook app is one of the most meat-and-potatoes app offerings of the major gambling companies, but its odds choices are top-notch and its managers have both the experience and ability to handle almost any bet imaginable.
- Connection to Ohio: Owner of Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
The Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati holds the distinction of being the only tribal casino in Ohio, even though it is not on tribal lands and Ohio has no federally recognized tribes. The sale of the former JACK Casino Cincinnati to Hard Rock International in 2019 meant that Florida’s Seminole Tribe now had a Buckeye State property in its portfolio. Currently, Hard Rock’s app is, frankly, a bit mediocre, but the time until Ohio’s sports betting launch should allow HRI to make improvements to the site structure, features, and overall navigability.
- Connection to Ohio: Partnered with Penn National Gaming, which owns multiple Hollywood Casino properties
Barstool Sportsbook continues to be one of the most polarizing betting sites in the world thanks to its edgy social media profile and reputation for brashness. These two elements keep the Barstool app as a subject of conversation, even if its actual presentation is still a bit lower quality than we’d like. Still, few other sportsbooks offer patrons the opportunity to be heard by a sportsbook app CEO, and parent company Penn National Gaming has elevated its profile considerably since purchasing the former sports blog.
- Connection to Ohio: Owner of multiple JACK casinos
JACK Entertainment is probably the least-certain company to launch an Ohio sportsbook on this list. Although JACK has a longstanding deal in place with technology developer Kambi, there’s no way to tell if it plans to move forward with an app. Its latest moves have seemed to center around divestitures, in fact, rather than expansions. However, sports betting changes the whole game, and JACK might not want to be left behind.
Connection to Ohio: Partnership with Cleveland Browns
Bally Bet is the sports betting representative for the casino company of the same name. Its partnership announcement with the Browns includes provisions for mobile betting and a retail lounge at the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. As is the case with many of these deals, there will also be a heavy bit of cross-promotion between the two brands. Bally Bet is still a newer app and is still figuring things out a bit, but the connection with one of Ohio’s NFL teams is sure to solidify the company’s standing.
Connection to Ohio: Partnership with Columbus Crew
Tipico Sportsbook is a global sportsbook brand that is actively increasing its presence in the United States, and its deal with the MLS’ Columbus Crew is further evidence of that effort. Tipico is unique in the sense that it generates its own odds and does offer markets that aren’t typically found in the US. Because it has this control over its own markets, you can also ask Tipico for custom bet offers if you don’t see something you like. However, the odds are not always the most competitive, and Tipico still needs to work on its promotional game.
Connection to Ohio: The Memorial Tournament/PGA Tour
BetPARX Sportsbook is the sports betting wing of the Pennsylvania casino of the same name. BetPARX is a fairly recently-debuted sportsbook app and has notably lagged behind the bigger players in the field. Still, with a deal in place with a PGA tournament, there’s no denying that there are major plans from the largest land-based casino in the Keystone State. The app itself is still in an early version. Although it does offer standard fare like in-play wagering, it does not have live stats to go with that wagering. So, look for decent deals when BetPARX launches in Ohio, but be aware that it is still a book finding its way.
To be clear, the list of apps above is not exhaustive. New books can pop up and/or show interest in a very short period of time. The bottom line, however, is that these apps have to be on the shortlist to launch early in Ohio. For the most part, that’s what they’ve done everywhere else.
Ohio sports betting nuts and bolts
Here are some quick facts about how Ohio is setting up for sports betting:
- Sports betting legal status: Bill signed by the governor on Dec. 22
- Launch date: Jan. 1, 2023 (estimated)
- Available formats: Online and retail
- Number of sportsbook apps: Up to 46, but requires OCCC approval beyond 25
- Number of retail sportsbooks: Up to 40
- Age requirement: 21 or older
- Quirks: Esports wagering permitted; limited sports betting through lottery kiosks
How will Ohio sports betting work?
The law, HB 29, lays out an interesting structure for the kinds of sportsbooks that will be legal in Ohio and where they might appear. First things first, both online and retail sports betting will be part of the new industry when it finally launches. Ohioans will be able to place a wager through their mobile devices and computers anywhere they can find internet service inside the state borders.
HB 29 establishes three types of sports betting licenses that companies may attempt to secure. Each type comes with its own requirements and restrictions. From the descriptions, here’s what we can tell you about the structure of Ohio sports betting:
Type A licenses
Type A licenses are for online sports betting companies. By law, the OCCC can issue a maximum of 25 of these licenses. Licensees must maintain an operational business inside the state of Ohio to be eligible. Each license permits only a single skin. However, there is a provision that allows Ohio’s 11 casinos/racinos and 10 sports entities to apply for a second skin if they can demonstrate that a second skin will incrementally improve revenue without cannibalizing the existing market. The OCCC may also issue more than 25 licenses under the same condition — that doing so would be of incremental economic benefit to Ohio.
Type B licenses
Type B licenses are for physical sportsbook locations inside the Buckeye State. The law allows for up to 40 of these venues. However, there are quite specific rules about spreading these outlets evenly throughout the state. The number of sportsbooks that the law allows in each county is as follows:
- Counties with 800,000 or more residents may have no more than five books.
- Counties with 400,000 to 799,999 residents may have no more than three.
- Counties with 100,000 to 399,999 residents may have no more than two if there are lottery terminals.
- Counties with 100,000 to 399,999 residents may have no more than one.
- Counties with 50,000 to 99,999 residents are ineligible unless they receive more than five million tourists per year.
- Counties with fewer than 50,000 residents are ineligible.
Type A license holders automatically receive Type B licenses and are expected to offer retail sports betting at their physical locations throughout the state. So Ohio’s 11 casino venues and the 10 home stadiums of its eligible sports teams or leagues are set to be sportsbook locations. In other words, every MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA venue in the state will have a sportsbook, and Muirfield Village Country Club (home of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament) will, as well. It’s possible that NASCAR might have a book at its race venues in Ohio, too.
Type C licenses
Type C licenses will be for Class D liquor license holders in the state. For the most part, this group includes bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. The license allows for up to two lottery kiosks already onsite at these locations to also accept lottery sports betting. Lottery sports betting is a limited form of sports betting that allows bettors to wager the spread, moneyline, over/under, and small parlays through the kiosk. Players can bet no more than $700 in any given week. However, there is no cap on the number of Type C licenses that the state can issue, so the actual number of sports betting facilities in Ohio could range into the hundreds or thousands. Any lottery retailer is eligible to apply.
What all Ohio sportsbook apps have in common
Although there are key differences between competing sportsbook apps, there is a great deal of overlap in the ways that each one conducts its business and presents its options to patrons. Though it might seem like a good idea to stand out from the pack, the truth is that most sportsbooks want to make the transition for new customers as simple as possible, whether they are rank beginners or are transferring over from a competitor.
Here are some elements that, regardless of the brand, you can expect to see on Ohio sportsbook apps:
- Welcome bonus — Because potential customers have competing sportsbooks at their fingertips, apps know that they have to draw attention to their offerings with sport betting bonuses and promos. Ohioans’ best chance to secure site credits or free bets is when they sign up at an app, which generally will offer a bonus just for registering for an account or making a first deposit.
- Requested registration information — All sportsbooks will require new customers to submit various pieces of personal information to create the account and save it in the app’s system. Players should expect to enter their full name, email address, phone number, mailing address, date of birth, Social Security number, and a login/password combination.
- Multiple options for depositing — Deposits are the lifeblood for every sportsbook, which means the books want to make it as easy as possible to put money into an account. There are always multiple ways to deposit. Usually, players can use electronic checks, credit cards, debit cards, PayPal/Skrill, online banking, and prepaid cards — and some sportsbooks might have more options beyond those.
- Multiple, but fewer, options for withdrawals — Each app will maintain several valid withdrawal methods, but they will invariably be fewer in number than their deposit method counterparts.
- Main lobby format — Easy navigation is critical for a sportsbook’s success, and programmers are loath to muck around with the standard template of sportsbook apps across the country. So, with very few exceptions, players will find a list of sports in a thin strip on the left side of the main display, a wider area with featured bets or live betting options in the center, and the bet slip on the right. The ribbon across the top will have all the administrative links, like the login and cashier buttons.
- Cash-out option — This feature is quickly becoming standard fare for most American sportsbooks as it has proven to be so popular. If an open wager appears quite likely to result in a win for the player, the sportsbook will offer a settlement amount that allows the bet to close. The book, obviously, saves money on the potential loss, but the players also protect themselves against any late reversals of fortune.
As sportsbook apps debut in Ohio, the key to discerning the truly special ones from the pedestrian ones will lie in one of two places. Either the app will have additional features beyond the ones listed above that truly elevate the bettor’s experience, or it will present an especially adept presentation of the common features. As you consider whether an app is worth your time, make sure to take into account any features that aren’t part of the standard package.
Where will Ohioans be able to bet?
Although it’s impossible to know the full list of sportsbook locations that Ohio will have, here are the most likely venues to house a betting shop when sports betting finally drops in the Buckeye State. Unsurprisingly, most of them will be in Ohio’s largest cities and at Ohio casinos.
|Cincinnati||Belterra Park Cincinnati
Great American Ball Park
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
Paul Brown Stadium
JACK Casino Cleveland
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
|Columbus||Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs
Hollywood Casino Columbus
|Dayton||Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway|
|Lebanon||Miami Valley Gaming|
|Northfield||MGM Northfield Park|
|North Randall||JACK Thistledown Racino|
|Toledo||Hollywood Casino Toledo|
|Youngstown||Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course|
Betting on popular Ohio sports
Ohio is home to a plethora of popular sports teams. Representatives from every major sports league hang their hats in the Buckeye State. In addition, Ohio is home to several universities with top athletic teams in multiple sports. Here are some of the most important sports entities in the state:
- MLB: Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati
- MLB: Cleveland Guardians, Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., Cleveland
- MLS: Columbus Crew, Lower.com Field, 96 Columbus Crew Way, Columbus
- MLS: FC Cincinnati, TQL Stadium, 1501 Central Parkway, Cincinnati
- NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, 1 Center Court, Cleveland
- NCAA: Ohio State University, 281 W. Lane Ave., Columbus
- NCAA: University of Cincinnati, 2600 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati
- NFL: Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
- NFL: Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland
- NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus
The structure of each individual sport dictates the different kinds of wagers that bettors can make. Some games are easier to bet than others, but every game has its share of experienced handicappers who prefer the nuances of their particular sport. Here’s what to know about betting on each sport.
Football and basketball offer most of the same types of wagers as each other and, for that matter, almost every type of wager. Because both sports’ games feature plenty of scoring (generally), it is easy to use both team and individual statistics as the basis for a host of wagers. Football betting odds are especially useful for bettors who wish to wager on in-game events, as the pauses between each play allow for betting options to pop up the entire game. Basketball odds, on the other hand, are a bit more fast-paced, so it’s more common to find individual player prop bets for scoring or other stats. Either sport may offer options to bet on the outcome of individual quarters of play, too.
Baseball and hockey are lumped together as betting options due to a particular commonality. Neither baseball games nor hockey matches typically feature an abundance of scoring, and it is quite common for games to come down to one run or goal. For oddsmakers seeking to set spread betting lines, this feature is problematic. So bettors will instead find a wager that serves as a hybrid between the spread and the moneyline. The margin will be a standard 1.5 runs or goals, and the sportsbook varies the payout ratios far more dramatically than it would for a standard point spread. This type of bet is appropriately called the run line in baseball and the puck line in hockey, but they work in the same manner.
Soccer creates an even bigger headache for oddsmakers because of the high likelihood of games ending in a draw. Since spread bets and moneylines rely on the margin of victory or a definite winner for their resolution, a tie game simply doesn’t work. This means that soccer bettors may find a couple of distinct betting options. The first type of soccer wager is the three-way moneyline, where a tie is one of the choices that you can bet on. When a three-way moneyline is in play, the outcome at the end of regulation becomes quite important because a bet on either team to win loses if the game goes to extra time or a shootout.
The other type of bet that soccer fans might encounter is the Asian handicap. In this style, the underdog in the game receives a goal cushion that often includes matches ending in a draw. In other words, it places the onus on the favorite to win outright. These bets are often expressed as decimals, and the bet’s resolution depends upon a margin of a full goal. So it is possible to win or lose an Asian handicap wager, but it is also possible to half-win or half-lose.
Of course, there are many popular sports in Ohio that go beyond the list above. For the most part, the primary method will be moneyline betting, since it’s just a question of which team or player wins the contest. Boxing, mixed martial arts, table tennis, tennis and rugby all have distinct winners, by and large, and Ohio bettors simply have to pick their favorites.
Other sports, like golf or NASCAR, have many teams or players competing for a single prize. In those cases, the prevailing type of wager is the futures bet, where the bettor will pick from a list of every single person or team in the event. Futures like this are riskier than moneylines due to their increased variables, but there’s really no better way to offer odds on the PGA’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village or the Indianapolis 500.
Rules for Ohio bettors
Although most of Ohio sports betting law pertains to the various bits of information associated with licensing and regulation, there are a few requirements that Ohio sports bettors will have to meet in order to play. The good news is that the final draft of the law permits a more open set of offerings in the state, at least compared to many other sports betting jurisdictions. Here is a brief rundown on who may bet in Ohio and upon what they may wager:
- Bettors must be 21 or older to play.
- Bettors must be in Ohio in order to bet, regardless of whether the wager is online or in person. Players will have to confirm their locations electronically before any legal sportsbook will accept their wagers.
- It is not necessary to be a resident of Ohio to play.
- Players may bet on professional sports, college sports, international contests like the Olympics, esports competitions, motorsports races, or any other event for which the Ohio Casino Control Commission has given permission. However, the OCCC must give special approval for any event that involves participants younger than 18.
- Players may not bet on any sporting event involving primary or secondary school students.
- Players may not wager on horse races, lottery games, casino games, or fantasy sports contests as a function of their sports betting.
- Lottery kiosk bettors may wager no more than $700 in a week.
How we got to legal sports betting in Ohio
There was no impulse for sports betting in Ohio while the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act served as a federal ban on the activity in almost every state. However, New Jersey’s victory in the US Supreme Court in 2018 caused the wheels to begin turning in many areas in the US, including the Buckeye State. Since then, Ohio lawmakers have worked diligently, if unevenly, toward legalizing sports betting in the state.
The first significant movements occurred in 2019 when two Ohio legislators, Sen. John Eklund and Rep. Dave Greenspan, offered separate proposals for sports betting in the state. Greenspan’s HB 194 received the bulk of activity during the year and was the subject of no fewer than eight House committee hearings, though without much progress. Meanwhile, Eklund’s SB 111 went onto the back burner, more or less, as the Senate waited to see the outcome from the activities in the lower chamber.
Greenspan’s efforts finally paid off in May 2020 when HB 194 moved out of committee after a ninth meeting. The House passed the bill almost immediately thereafter, and it moved to the Senate for consideration in the early part of June 2020. Greenspan indicated that he planned to engage Eklund on the matter and looked to find support for the bill during the summer. All seemed to be going well until a couple of setbacks.
Eklund announced that he would not be running for re-election in 2020. Then, Greenspan lost his bid for re-election. Proponents of Buckeye State sports betting were quickly bereft of their two most stalwart advocates in the Ohio Legislature, and HB 194 died unceremoniously in the waning days of 2020, seemingly putting a halt to sports betting efforts in the state.
Sen. Kirk Schuring had other plans in mind for 2021 when he introduced SB 176 in May 2021 as a measure to legalize sports betting in Ohio. After about a month of discussion, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill over to the House. However, after it became clear that the House did not plan to hear the bill before the summer break, Schuring changed gears and attached most of the bill’s text as amendments to a bill pertaining to veteran ID cards — HB 29.
This bill ended up carrying the day for Schuring. After some haggling, it passed both chambers and headed to DeWine’s desk for his signature. DeWine had already indicated that he planned to sign off on the bill, and he did.
The law set a Jan. 1, 2023, deadline for the beginning of sports betting in the state. OCCC officials have estimated that this deadline is the most likely day that sports betting will launch in Ohio. However, there’s always optimism for a sooner launch.
Ohio Sports Betting FAQ
The Ohio Casino Control Commission is the natural regulator for new gambling due to its existing oversight of other gambling activities in the state. The law explicitly names the OCCC as the regulatory agency for sports betting in the Buckeye State.
No. In addition to casinos, Ohio sportsbooks are likely to pop up at professional sports venues around the state. On top of that, various businesses may be able to secure an onsite book if they can demonstrate their eligibility to the OCCC. Finally, there will be limited sports betting options available through lottery retailers around the state. Ohioans will have no shortage of physical options for sports betting, even if they plan to mostly use their phones.
Yes. The language of the law includes collegiate events as part of its list of acceptable activities for wagering. The only exception might be if a competition involves a competitor under the age of 18. But, even in such a rare instance, the OCCC is empowered to make a judgment call about allowing betting to proceed.
Those sites are not based inside the United States and are not subject to Ohio or US law. It is quite risky to place wagers at those sites because they may not be honest actors or anything more than criminal enterprises. With legal sports betting coming to Ohio in no more than a year or so, it’s worth waiting for sportsbooks that are held to the same legal and ethical standards as people expect from other businesses.
Yes. Ohio made daily fantasy sports contests legal in 2017. Ohio residents and visitors can play on FanDuel, DraftKings, and any other permitted DFS providers.