Ohio Sports Betting — Future Legal OH Sportsbooks, Where To Play & Promo Codes

The Buckeye State is one of the most attractive potential legal sports betting markets in the country thanks to its large population (11.7 million), legions of voracious sports fans, and the number of pro sports and collegiate athletic teams.

Ohio sports fans and sports bettors have been eager to see lawmakers and the governor bring legal sports wagering across the finish line. About 30 U.S. states and jurisdictions have either expressly authorized or allowed some form of legal sports wagering after the fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Ohio is finally part of that esteemed group of states. On this page, we will discuss how Ohio finally ended up joining the ranks of legal sports betting states after years of frustration, what that means for bettors in the state, when sports betting will be live, and more.

How sports betting came to Ohio

There was a time when industry observers joked that every state outside of Utah would have legal sports betting before Ohio. It seemed that way for a while, with the legislative debates and proposals that always seemed to get people just excited enough to think that maybe this was actually the day/week/month that sports betting would be legalized in the state. Then something would happen, or not happen, and everyone would be sad that the legislative progress derailed…again.

Over and over it would go. Progress and setbacks. Hope and despair. Legislation passing the Senate but not the House, and vice versa. Would Ohioans ever be able to wager on their favorite teams? Things seemed bleak. Then, one day in December 2021 (December 8 to be exact), a breakthrough! Could it be? Yes! All of a sudden, H.B. 29, a bill to fully legalize sports betting in the state, passed the Senate 31-1. Later the same day it passed the House by a vote of 72-12. What just happened? SportHandle’s Slack channels were abuzz.

The passage of H.B. 29 came suddenly but was the result of several months of behind-closed-door negotiations. The bill is a monumental victory for fans of sports betting, but the work is not done. Unfortunately, bettors won’t be able to fire up their favorite sports betting apps in the state until January 1, 2023 (at the latest) because of the methodical rulemaking process. Still, sports betting will be live in Ohio in about a year, which is a remarkable achievement that will bring joy and excitement to thousands of Buckeye State bettors. While we’re talking about H.B. 29, let’s go over what is actually in the bill because it has some interesting sections that haven’t been included in other state laws.

Type A, B, and C licenses

The legislation authorizes up to 25 Type-A licenses, which are meant for casinos or professional sports organizations, or venues. This would include all the casinos in the state (obviously) but would also include the state’s professional sports teams and the two golf courses/nonprofit organizations that host PGA Tour events. The actual number of casinos and sports teams does not equal 25, but the legislature decided to go high in case things change in the future. Each Type A licensee is awarded two online “skins” or partners for online gaming. This format is common in many states and allows only-only operators like DraftKings to enter different markets.

Type B sportsbooks are for stand-alone sportsbooks. Forty Type B licenses are available, which means that there could be up to 40 retail sportsbooks dotting the state. This would be in addition to the existing casinos that can add sportsbooks to their facilities. As you can see, Ohio is really leaning into legalized sports betting.

Type C sportsbooks will definitely be the most prevalent in the state. A Type C sportsbook license is for a retail kiosk that can be placed in a facility that already has a liquor license, which would include thousands of bars and restaurants throughout the state. These kiosks, managed by the state lottery, will only offer basic bets like over/under, spread bets, and Moneyline, and will cap withdrawals at $700/week. But bettors will be paid in cash by the establishment where the kiosk is located. The license fee for a Type C sportsbook is just $1000 for three years, so we expect many taverns and restaurants to install kiosks at their businesses. This will be a great option for those who want to bet on sports but for whatever reason aren’t interested in signing up for a mobile sportsbook app.

Additional details

  • The tax rate for sports betting revenue in the state is a low 10%, which should hit the sweet spot of maximizing revenue to the state by encouraging competition.
  • Sports betting becoming legal in Ohio means that the state will keep a great of tax revenue that was being spent by bettors making legal wagers in every single bordering state aside from Kentucky. Ohio joins neighbors Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan in legalizing sports betting. Keeping those bettors home means keeping the revenue in the state, which is good news for all Ohioans and bad news for the neighboring states.
  • There are no major restrictions on the types of wagers eligible to be offered by sportsbooks, which is great news for the MANY fans of Ohio State University who will now be able to wager on their favorite team.
  • eSports wagers are also allowed to be offered, which is worth keeping an eye on. eSports are wagered on in other states, but the market is very small. That could change as more people become interested in watching and wagering on video games.
  • Equitable access to sports wagering licenses is another focus of the bill. The legislation requires a study to be conducted examining whether disadvantaged persons experience discrimination in the sports wagering industry. This study will be closely watched and will possibly lead to further action to ensure that licenses are distributed in an equitable manner.
  • Similar to Michigan, the legislation requires a universal start date, which means that operators will all be approved for licenses before the start date, which will be no later than January 1, 2023. All operators will start on the same day so as to not give anyone an unfair advantage. This worked very well in Michigan and will likely be used by other states in the future.
  • The sports betting industry in Ohio will be regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. This was the source of some negotiation, as many in the legislature wanted the Lottery Commission to regulate the industry. In the end, having the Casino Commission regulate sports betting is better for bettors in the state because it will ensure a more open, competitive marketplace rather than one controlled by the state lottery.

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Ohio sportsbooks – expected mobile sportsbooks, brick & mortar lounges

Online Sportsbook Brand(s)*Physical CasinoOwnershipLocationOnline Launch Date
FanDuel SportsbookBelterra Park Gaming & Entertainment CenterBoyd GamingAnderson TownshipTBD
Hard Rock SportsbookHard Rock Casino Cincinnati Hard Rock InternationalCincinnatiTBD
DraftKings Sportsbook (estimate)Hollywood Casino Toledo Penn National GamingToledoTBD
Unibet Sportsbook (estimate)Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway Penn National GamingDaytonTBD
PointsBet (estimate)Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course Penn National GamingAustintownTBD
BetMGM SportsbookMGM Northfield Park MGM InternationalNorthfieldTBD
TwinSpires SportsbookMiami Valley Gaming Delaware North/Churchill DownsTurtlecreek TownshipTBD
Caesars SportsbookScioto Downs Racino Eldorado ResortsColumbusTBD
Barstool SportsbookHollywood Casino Columbus Penn National GamingColumbusTBD
JACK-branded with Kambi techJack Cleveland CasinoJack EntertainmentClevelandTBD
JACK-branded with Kambi techJack Thistledown Racino Jack EntertainmentNorth RandallTBD
theScore BetN/AN/ATBD
FOX BetN/AN/ATBD
*Projected based on existing market access agreements

Ohio casino/racino properties and ownership

There are four casinos and seven racinos located in Ohio.  The legislation that passed and was signed into law allows each property, along with the state’s professional sports teams, to offer two online brands — also known as “skins” — apiece. This means that all the major sportsbooks, and many of the lesser-known ones, will eventually be available in the state. Here is more about the existing casinos and their potential sportsbook partners:

Casinos

Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo (Penn National Gaming)

Penn National owns two casinos and three racinos in the state. There is no doubt it will use one of its online skins to bring Barstool Sportsbook to the state. Barstool is owned by Penn National and has become a formidable, if controversial, presence in the sports betting world. Other sportsbooks could partner with Penn National to gain entry to the state, particularly if it is determined that each individual Penn National gaming location qualifies for two online skins, which would leave the company with 10 golden tickets to hand out to the highest bidder.

Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati Cincinnati (Hard Rock International)

In 2019, Jack Entertainment sold Jack Casino Cincinnati to Hard Rock International for $745 million. Jack still maintains ownership of two other properties in the state – in Cleveland and North Randall. Hard Rock Sportsbook operates online in a handful of states, including Florida and New Jersey. We expect Hard Rock to either bring its own sportsbook to Ohio or partner with a different online brand.

Jack Casino Cleveland (Jack Entertainment)

Jack Entertainment partnered with the UK-based risk-management and odds supplier Kambi Sports to power its physical and online sportsbooks. Kambi has been a popular choice for U.S. bookmakers, as it’s also the back-end supplier for Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Casino. With its significant name recognition, it’s possible Jack Casino could create its own online sportsbook, or it may partner with a different brand. Either way, Jack Entertainment will be in the sportsbook game in 2023 or before.

Racinos

Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center (Boyd Gaming)

Boyd Gaming has a market access deal with FanDuel Sportsbook, which has worked out quite well for Boyd as FanDuel has gained a dominant market share in every state in which it operates. Ohioans can expect a physical FanDuel Sportsbook similar to the one at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. FanDuel has also outfitted lounges in Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan, among the growing list of states.

Scioto Downs Racino (Eldorado Resorts)

Caesars owns Eldorado Scioto Downs, a popular racino outside Columbus. Caesars Sportsbook will have access to the state through this facility, and we expect the online sportsbook to do quite well. Caesars will also likely open a retail sportsbook at Scioto Downs which will no doubt be filled with Buckeye fans during football season.

MGM Northfield Park (MGM International Resorts)

MGM International Resorts established ROAR Digital as a joint venture between MGM and GVC Holdings, and they have done a great job elevating their online brand, BetMGM, into the upper echelon of the U.S. sportsbooks. The companies put up a total of $200 million at the outset of the partnership, and have injected more capital as the U.S. market has opened up further.  MGM has also partnered with Yahoo! Sports to serve as an acquisition engine, cut a deal with Buffalo Wild Wings for marketing purposes, and also is now using actor/entertainer Jamie Foxx to endorse the brand. In other words, they’re all in, and of course, very experienced in sportsbook hospitality through properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where MGM spent $10 million to build out a sportsbook lounge at the Borgata. BetMGM will be in Ohio on Day 1 and will be a very popular choice among the state’s sports bettors.

Miami Valley Gaming (Churchill Downs/Delaware North)

Churchill Downs (CDI)’s online brand TwinSpires is currently live online in five states, including neighboring Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. We expect TwinSpires to bring its online sportsbook to Ohio through the Miami Valley Gaming facility. Miami Valley would likely turn to IGT to power its physical sportsbook offerings, as IGT and CDI have established a partnership to do the same at Delaware North properties in other states including West Virginia.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Penn National Gaming)

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course (Penn National Gaming)

Jack Thistledown Racino (Jack Entertainment)

Ohio sportsbook available sports

The full list of sports authorized to be wagered on will be finalized later on as part of the rulemaking process, but we have a pretty good idea of which sports will be offered in the state. Bettors in Ohio will be able to wager on most, if not all, of the following sports:

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball (NBA and NCAA)
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Darts
  • Football (NFL and NCAA)
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • MMA
  • Motorsports
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis

Ohio sportsbook bet types

A market is a type of bet. Sportsbooks offer thousands of different wagers or markets. If you want to bet the Reds Moneyline in their upcoming game against the Cubs, that is one market. A moneyline bet on the Cubs would be a second market. A spread bet on the Bengals -6.5 in an NFL game against the Ravens is a third type of market. Big games like the Super Bowl can have thousands of markets available, mostly related to prop bets like how many rushing yards an RB will get or how many TDs a QB will throw. Even low-profile games like a Tuesday night Cavaliers-Grizzlies NBA game can have over 100 bets offered. Here are all the bet types that will be available to bettors in Ohio:

Ohio sportsbook bonuses and promotions

Once sportsbooks are ready to open in Ohio, it will be a mad dash to sign up new customers. This will greatly benefit bettors in the state who will be the recipients of some of the best new customer promotions and sportsbook bonuses available anywhere in the country. While we can’t say exactly which promotions will be offered, we are confident that at least some of the following sportsbook promotions will be available to bettors in Ohio:

Ohio sportsbook banking options

All online sportsbooks offer different types of deposit and withdrawal options. Some offer a wide variety of banking options, while others only offer a few options. The more banking options available, the better it is for bettors, because everyone has their own preferred method of funding their sportsbook accounts. Be sure to check with your particular financial institution before initiating a deposit because some banks decline transactions related to sports betting. Here are all the banking options available at legal, regulated sportsbooks, most of which will be offered by sportsbooks in Ohio:

  • PayPal
  • Skrill
  • VIP Preferred ACH eCheck
  • Play+ branded prepaid card
  • Visa/Mastercard/Discover
  • Online banking
  • PayNearMe
  • Cash at the casino cage
  • Paper checks mailed to your home address
  • Wire transfer

Ohio casino history

The Buckeye State is a relative newcomer to the casino industry, having only had retail casino gambling since 2012. Ohio voters approved a ballot initiative in 2009 to allow for casinos in four of its major cities. Ohio was part of the regional casino boom that occurred in the aftermath of the Great Recession, which temporarily greatly damaged gaming revenue in Las Vegas. Tourism was hit hard, so the industry lobbied to put casinos across the country.

Casino gambling also allowed states to raise revenues without raising taxes on residents, and Ohio, along with many other states, went that route. Under Ohio law, the four casinos are regulated by the OCCC, while the racinos are under OLC oversight. The racinos don’t have live dealer table games, which is the main difference between the facilities.

The first casino to open was Hollywood Casino Toledo in 2012, followed by the other three casinos in the spring of 2013. The first racino also opened in 2012. The racinos were authorized under an executive order from the governor that allowed video lottery terminals at the racetracks. Ohio has had seven racinos since 2014, and under the legal landscape, there isn’t a cap on the number of racinos. There is a cap of four Las Vegas-style casinos.

 

Brian Pempus

Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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