Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivered an early Christmas gift to gamblers in the Buckeye State last week by legalizing sports betting.
According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Republican signed HB 29 into law last Wednesday. The bill, which passed through the state legislature the previous week, allows for betting on both professional and collegiate athletic events at brick-and-mortar locations and through mobile apps or online sportsbooks.
Earlier reports estimated that if signed into law, Ohioans wouldn’t be able to wager on events until at least 2023, but Sen. Kirk Schurring told the daily newspaper that he thinks the market could launch before then.
“We want to get this up and running as soon as soon as possible, but we’re building a whole new industry,” said Schurring. “We’re hoping it can be done sooner.”
The legislation puts the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulatory duties and the body will spend the next several months drafting rules for the sports betting industry. Once those are finished, it will start accepting license applications, likely in the summer or fall of 2022.
There are three types of licenses available, depending on the type of sportsbook an operator is hoping to run. The state’s 11 racinos, eight professional sports teams, four casinos, NASCAR, and the PGA Tour are all expected to apply for licenses. Any bar or restaurant with a liquor license will be eligible to apply as well.
Online sportsbooks will only be run by operators that are awarded a Type A license. It costs $2.5 million to apply for one, which likely means the casinos, racinos, and sports franchises will be the only bidders for this license type. These licensees can partner with up to two vendors who could run the day-to-day operations of the sportsbook.
Type B will allow for traditional retail in-person sportsbooks and Type C license holders would allow for betting at a kiosk. Type C licenses are reserved for bars and restaurants with liquor licenses. The types of bets patrons will be allowed to make at the kiosk will be limited compared to an online or retail sportsbook.
According to estimates from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, once the market matures, the Ohio market should be worth $3.35 billion.
With gross revenue being taxed at 10%, it’s estimated that the state coffers will net $24 million from the new market during its first full fiscal year. 98% of all sports betting tax revenue will be used to help fund the public education system, while the remaining 2% will be used to help problem gamblers.