Sports betting in Ohio doesn’t start in time for the start of the NFL season

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The legal sports betting launch date in Ohio is likely to be close to, if not January 1, 2023, the cut-off date for retail and online betting to begin.

Last Updated: May 19, 2022 10:29 AM ET
Reading time: 2 minutes

The start of legal sports betting in Ohio will come well after the start of the National Football League regular season.

According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission website, Executive Director Matt Schuler said Wednesday that the announcement of the universal start date for betting in Buckeye State will be made at their next June 1 meeting.

Schuler added that the start date would likely be close to, if not January 1, 2023, the deadline when both retail and online sports betting in Ohio are required by law to begin. The NFL regular season begins on September 8th.

“Ohio is undergoing the largest gaming expansion in its history and the largest simultaneous launch of sports games in the United States, with all eligible online applications, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and kiosks in bars and taverns eligible to launch on the exact same date,” says the Casino Control Commission on their website. “According to industry estimates, this will require detailed due diligence and ensure compliance of approximately 3,000 applications in time for the Universal Start Date.”

The news will likely disappoint Ohio-based fans of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, who will have to wait until the NFL regular season begins to place a legal bet on their roster. It will also likely cost the state a tidy chunk of tax revenue, as football season is the busy season for bookies.

Lots of moving parts

Ohio’s legal sports betting system is poised to become one of the more open in the United States.

Wannabe bettors must be at least 21 years of age and in state to bet. Up to 25 online sports betting licenses could be issued initially, with the state’s professional sports organizations and casino and “racino” operators receiving preferred status for the permits.

Online betting license holders can work with up to two sportsbooks, although licensees must also hold one of the 40 available brick-and-mortar betting licenses or have some business operations in the state. Sports betting income is subject to a tax rate of 10%.

However, the need for a universal start date means that online, in-person and even kiosk-based sports betting are all operational at the same time. That seems to weigh a little on the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which hasn’t set the date but expects it to be after the World Series as well.

“Given the intricacies of Ohio’s rulemaking process and the number of licenses and investigations that the commission must issue or conduct, the universal start date will likely be close to, if not as close as, January 1, 2023.” says the regulator’s website.

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