On Dec. 22, 2021, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law House Bill 29 legalizing sports betting in the state of Ohio. The new law legalizes and controls sports betting in Ohio through licensed gaming owners. The law also tasks the Ohio Casino Control Commission with regulating sports gaming online, at sports gaming facilities and at bars and restaurants.
However, the recent passage of the House Bill 29 doesn’t mean Ohioans can immediately start placing sports bets at their local casinos or bars. Before sports betting can occur in Ohio, several more government measures must be implemented.
As previously stated, the Ohio Casino Control Commission is in charge of regulating sports betting. Regulating, however, also means creating the sport gambling rules and systems to effectuate the law. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is in the process of creating the rules, applications, forms, systems and other items necessary to implement the bill’s provisions.
Here’s what we know so far based on the language of House Bill 29:
There are three main types of sports betting licenses:
Type A: This category applies to online sports gaming including mobile apps. There will not be more than 25 at a time and each will be given a five-year term.
Type B: This category applies to proprietors of sports gaming facilities – “a designated area of a building or structure in which patrons may place wagers on sporting events with a type B sports license either in person or using self-service sports gaming terminals.” There will not be more than 40 licenses given at any one time with a maximum number of sports gaming facilities that may be located in a county based on 2010 census. These will also be given a five-year term.
Type C: This category applies to proprietors who offer sports gaming through self-service terminals located at one or more Type C sports gaming hosts’ facilities. The casino commission must license at least two and not more than 20 at any one time, with a five-year term.
Sports betting in Ohio is scheduled to go live on Jan. 1, 2023
Applicants looking for licenses will be evaluated by a number of factors, including the length of time the applicant has been doing business, and the applicant’s current or intended contributions including tourism. Applicants will also be evaluated based on criminal history, tax compliance, reputation, bankruptcy history, public confidence, litigation history and prior compliance with gaming related laws.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission has yet to publish the actual application forms, therefore, it is anticipated that the Commission will not be accepting licensure applications until July or August of this year.
However, once sport betting goes live in Ohio, it is anticipated that the tax revenue will be significant. PlayOhio reports that by the end of 2025, Ohio online and retail operators could generate between $9 billion and $12 billion in bets annually. This translates to between $700 million and $900 million in annual gross revenue. With Ohio’s tax structure, which is 10% of an operator’s taxable revenue, that could mean as much as $90 million in annual taxes. At present, the bulk of taxes generated from sports betting will go to Ohio schools while a small percentage will go to support gambling addiction services.
To obtain the latest information on sports betting, visit the Ohio Casino Control Commission website at casinocontrol.ohio.gov.
Andrew Zashin writes about law for the Cleveland Jewish News. He is a co-managing partner with Zashin & Rich, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.