The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting sports betting license applications on June 15 for Type A, B, and C proprietors, first-designated mobile management services providers, management services providers, and suppliers. Applications will be available on June 1, and the submission window will close on July 15. Those categories cover Ohio’s biggest potential sports wagering venues, including professional sports stadiums and existing casinos.
The commission also revealed that it will have a “universal” go-live date, meaning that it plans to launch any approved operators on the same date. Though state law mandates that sports betting be live by Jan 1. 2023, it’s possible, given the progress the OCCC has made in terms of approving regulations, that it could launch operators sooner. Several other states, most recently Arizona, have launched operators as a group.
On Wednesday, the commission also shared a sports gaming rules implementation timeline that provides key dates and time periods leading up to go-live. The application window opens for Type C sports gaming hosts and second-designated mobile management services providers July 15 and closes Aug. 15.
The application windows are for operators, vendors, and suppliers who want to be approved by the universal launch date. Any entity that applies outside these windows will have their application reviewed on a rolling basis.
Applying in a timely manner
OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler expressed the importance of applicants submitting their completed license applications during the designated time periods. He’s hopeful that the application process will go smoothly, since many of the proprietors are already licensed in other jurisdictions.
“There’s no reason why they can’t give us complete applications by the July 15 and August 15 deadlines that are applicable to them,” Schuler said. “It’s also very important for the commission staff because the law requires a multitude of different pieces of information that have to be reviewed and backgrounded, and we also expect a multitude of applications. In order to be able to fully vet those and bring those to the commission for licensure, we need everyone to adhere to this tight time frame.”
In order for the commission to stay on schedule and begin accepting licensing applications on June 15, “Batch 1” of proposed sports gaming rules must be submitted for final consideration by June 1. Batch 1 rules concern general provisions, provisional licensing, certified independent testing laboratories, and certified independent integrity monitors. The batch was formally filed with the state’s Common Sense Initiative Office on Feb. 16.
“They are the cornerstone for what we’re going to need moving forward,” Schuler said, referring to Batch 1 rules. “They have certain licensing provisions, which allow the commission to, under law, be able to put out and receive applications.”
The submission deadline for all responsible gaming plans, facility plans, equipment testing, geolocation procedures, house rules, and required procedures is 60 days prior to the universal start date. It’s also noted that the standard sports gaming employee application deadline must be 60 days prior to the universal start date.
All equipment must receive commission verification 30 days prior to the universal start date, and Schuler is expected to set that date for no later than Jan. 1, 2023.
Busy week for commission
The commission began the week seeking stakeholder comment on draft applications for Type A and Type B sports gaming proprietor licenses, as well as comments on draft applications for mobile management services providers licenses and management services providers licenses. The commission is accepting comments concerning these draft applications until Friday by email at [email protected].
The commission recently offered an opportunity for stakeholder comment on the Type C sports gaming proprietors draft application, which drew some concerns — most notably about a two-kiosk self-service terminal limit for bars and restaurants. And earlier this year, Ohio State University requested that sports betting on colleges be limited to only football and basketball.
Sports betting was legalized in Ohio last Dec. 22 when Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 29. The commission is holding meetings twice a month in order to stay on schedule to have sports wagering available by the end of the year.
In other commission news
The commission also agreed during Wednesday’s meeting to formally file the “Batch 5” proposed sports wagering rules with the CSI office.
Batch 5, which was originally presented for public comment March 7, concerns definitions, proprietor duties, and supplemental licenses for Type A and B licenses. It’s the last batch of proposed rules to be submitted to CSI.
Batch 1 is further along in the approval process than any of the other four batches and is expected to be submitted for final consideration by June 1. Besides Batch 5, all the other batches of rules have been formally filed with CSI.