Ohio Casino Commission Clarifies Sports Betting Launch Timeline – NFL Season a Possibility?

On Wednesday, Ohio’s Casino Control Commission laid out a new timeline for sports betting applications that will see the window open earlier than expected. The update didn’t include a specific date for the state to go live, but the bill passed last year requires the state’s market to go live by January 1, 2023.

New Timeline Provided by Casino Control Commission

The following is the new timeline provided by the Ohio Casino Control Commission regarding applications for the new market:

  • June 1, 2022: final application versions made available
  • June 15, 2022: first application window opens
  • July 15, 2022: first application window closes and second application window opens
  • August 15, 2022: second application window closes
  • 60 days prior to universal start date: submission deadline for all plans and procedures; standard sports gaming employee application deadline
  • 30 days prior to universal start date: all equipment ready for Commission verification
  • January 1, 2023: latest date for universal start date

The first application window is reserved for Type A, B, and C proprietors, Mobile Management Services Providers (MMSPs), Management Services Providers (MSPs), and suppliers. Type A includes online sportsbooks, Type B includes brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and Type C includes self-service or clerk-operated terminals in establishments with liquor licenses.

How Many Licenses Will be Awarded?

House Bill 29 states that the state will have up to 25 online sports betting licenses at first, with the preferred status given to the state’s casino and “racino” operators and professional sports teams. Licensees can partner with up to two sportsbook operators, but they must also hold one of the 40 brick-and-mortar betting licenses in the state. There could be as many as 50 online sportsbooks in Ohio at the time of launch with these rules.

60-Day Deadline Will Provide Clarity

Based on the timeline provided by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, there are submission deadlines taking place 60 days before the Universal Start Date (USD). Therefore, the public should know the USD by October at the latest, with the newest USD being January 1, 2023. All responsible gaming plans, facility plans, equipment testing, geolocation procedures, house rules, and required procedures must be submitted by that 60-day mark.

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Existing Market-Access Partnerships

A handful of sportsbooks have agreed to partnerships with Ohio entities for market access in anticipation of the state launching sports betting in the near future. The following are some of those partnerships:

  • Fubo Gaming and the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Bally’s Interactive and the Cleveland Browns
  • Caesars and the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • betPARX and the PGA Tour

In addition, Rush Street Interactive (RSI) will have access to the Ohio market through its partnership with Penn National Gaming. It’s unclear whether RSI will operate in the market through its BetRivers or PlaySugarHouse skin. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are also expected to be involved in the Ohio market.

Live by Football Season?

The goal for Ohio has been to launch the sports betting industry by the start of the 2022-23 NFL season, which begins on Thursday, September 8. With the 60-day deadline in place, we would need to have all plans and procedures submitted by early July. That short turnaround seems unlikely, but a launch at some point during the upcoming NFL regular season should be possible – that would create a ton of new revenue for the state of Ohio.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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