Ohio Sports Betting to Launch Close to Jan. 1, Regulator Says

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Despite the earlier application window, Ohio sports betting may not launch earlier than the mandatory Jan. 1, 2023 deadline, according to the chief regulator.

The “universal start date” for Ohio mobile and retail betting operators to take their first wager is still being determined. However, the executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Matt Schuler said at Wednesday’s meeting it would likely be close to, if not exactly Jan. 1.

Earlier this month, the Buckeyes State’s gambling regulatory authority announced that the potential operator could apply for licenses from June 15, leading to speculation that the earlier application window could hasten the launch.

However, the official launch date will be unveiled on June 1, according to the commission website.

Why is the Launch Taking So Long?

Ohio sports betting enthusiasts were expecting to be able to place legal bets in time for the NFL betting this year.

But that will not be possible, according to the commission.

“Given the intricacies of the rule-making process in Ohio and the number of licenses and investigations that the regulatory authority must issue or undertake, the Universal Start Date is expected to be close to, if not exactly on, Jan. 1, 2023,” the commission’s website states.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the director of the communications for the CCC, Jessica Franks, explained why the earlier application windows will not translate into an earlier launch.

She said that much attention had been given to the status of the commission’s rules pertaining to sports wagering and the announcement of application windows as if they were the final steps in the process.

However, that does not fully consider the sheer volume of applicants or the unique requirements that must be observed by both the sports betting operators and the regulators prior to the commencement of sports betting, Franks said.

Largest Simultaneous Launch of Sports Betting in Ohio

Franks also said Ohio would be the largest simultaneous launch of sports betting in the US. All the mobile apps, land-based sportsbooks, and kiosks in bars and taverns will be able to go live on the exact same date.

The commission estimates it will have to conduct detailed investigations and ensure compliance requirements for nearly 3,000 applications in order to meet the Universal Start Date.

The first application window for sports wagering licenses opens from June 15 until July 15. A second application window for kiosks begins on July 15 and until Aug. 15.

The winning licenses will be announced afterward.

Ohio to Expect Up to 46 Online Sportsbook

Ohio sports betting law allows up to 46 mobile operators, as 21 of the total 25 license holders may tether with up to two mobile skins. The remaining four can contract with only one skin per license.

Casinos, professional sports teams, and racetracks can seek sports wagering licenses under the law. However, they all must hold brick-and-mortar licenses, for which up to 40 will be awarded.

Bally Bet and Fubo Gaming have already struck partnerships with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Until Ohio launches its sports betting – Schuler will reveal the exact date in June – the Buckeyes State’s neighboring states will take legal bets from Ohioans.

Four of Ohio’s five border states – Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – have legalized sports betting.

What’s Next?

Once the regulator announces the official launch date, it will be shared with all stakeholders and posted on the commission’s site.

Last December, Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio sports betting into law, which required that sports betting would be available by Jan. 1, 2023.

The commission’s latest meeting on Wednesday also contrasted with two of the senators who played a key role in legalizing sports betting in Ohio.

Sen. Niraj Antani and Sen. Kirk Schuring recently told the local media that they expected a fall launch.

Antani told the Dayton Daily News that he expected a launch somewhere around the MLB World Series, coinciding with October or early November.

Schuring, however, was hopeful that everything would be operational by mid-to-late fall, according to the report from the same newspaper.

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