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Ohio to launch sports betting on January 1

Draft kings mobile sports betting app
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Sportsbook mobile app

Sports betting will be legal in Ohio at the beginning of the new year.

State regulators have been working for months to approve licenses and launch Ohio’s legal framework for sports betting, which was approved by lawmakers at the end of 2021.

Ohio’s legal sports betting structure allows for entities to apply for three different types of licenses: types A, B, and C.

A Type A license allows entities to host sports betting through mobile apps, such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings.

The state has issued 23 Type A licenses. Among the license-holders are Ohio’s professional sports teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavs, Cleveland Guardians, and FC Cincinnati. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Muirfield Village Golf Club also have a Type A license.

Twenty-three entities have been approved for a Type B license to operate an in-person betting facility. The professional sports teams also obtained a Type B license along with the state’s casinos.

Jessica Franks, Ohio Casino Control Commission’s communications director, said they’ve been working for months to verify applications and approve proprietors before January 1.

“Our work doesn't stop there. It really is just sort of the beginning because once everybody gets going, then we have to make sure that they are continuing to operate within the bounds of our rules and the law,” said Franks.

Franks added that the state has implemented measures to help people who might experience problem gambling.

“We know everybody is really excited for sports gaming to come to Ohio, but the commission does of course encourage those who want to participate to do so responsibly. And we'll remind everybody that there are plenty of resources out there that are available for people that are interested in what responsible gaming looks like,” said Franks.

The state has launched a few initiatives for problem gambling, including Pause Before You Play, Get Set Before You Bet, and the responsible gambling helpline — 1-800-589-9966.

State lawmakers began drafting legislation to legalize sports betting in 2018, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling to strike down a federal law that prohibited states from allowing the practice.

While other states — like Pennsylvania and West Virginia — were ready to put a system in place, Ohio spent a few years debating the issue of sports betting and the potential framework of the industry.

At the end of 2021, lawmakers reached an agreement that carved out specific industries that would qualify for different licenses and set the program to launch by 2023.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.
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