Ohio Holding to Jan. 1 Launch of Legal Sports Betting

Ohio remains one of a handful of states to legalize sports betting but still working to go live. Kansas and Maine can be added to the list with signed legislation now in place. Maryland offers legal retail sportsbooks with mobile betting a work in progress.

The Buckeye State has been rather clear with its intentions to launch legal sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023. Strong proponents of the new laws are pushing hard for an earlier date. They have circled early September on the calendar to coincide with the new NFL regular season.

The situation does remain fluid with the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) now processing sportsbook applications. However, with June 1 right around the corner, Jan. 1 of next year may still be the logical choice.

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The Current State of Legal Sports Betting in Ohio

The OCCC has planned its next meeting for Wednesday, June 1. At that time, the official launch date will be announced. The insider odds on the situation continue to lean towards later than sooner according to various industry sources.

The new laws that brought legal sports betting in Ohio were first enacted towards the end of 2021. At that time, Ohio gaming officials were quick to point out the set date of Jan. 1, 2023 to go live. This was actually the latest date allowed according to the approved legislation.

While the OCCC is sticking to the universal launch date of “around Jan. 1” of next year, the first legal bets placed may have to wait until New Year’s Day.

Going through the regulatory process, there was some strong optimism that early September was still a realistic goal. State Senator Niraj Antani was behind the push for this timeframe earlier in 2022. In a more recent statement, the Senator concluded that:

“I still believe sports betting will be able to start in the late fall, around the World Series.”

The OCCC is taking a more cautious approach to completing the process. The main reason January remains on the table is the added time needed for the licensing process. The primary goal is a smooth launch. It has been made clear that this will come at the expense of a quicker start.

As part of an official statement as the OCC Director of Communications, Jessica Franks was quick to point out the following about the licensing process:

“However, it does not fully consider the vast volume of applicants or the unique and multifaceted statutory requirements that must be met by both operators and the Commission before sports gaming can begin.”

Existing Ohio Sports Betting Partnerships

Regardless of the actual launch date, parties involved in the process have remained busy over the past few months.

Bally’s Interactive announced a partnership with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Fubo Gaming was successful in landing the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers as a strategic gaming partner. JACK Entertainment of Cleveland announced plans to open a pair of Las Vegas-style retail sportsbooks in the company’s two casino locations in the city.

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