Revisions to New Ohio Budget Bill Include Additional Retail Sportsbooks in the State: Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton Counties All to Get More Sportsbooks
Lawmakers Increase Retail Sports Betting Threshold in Major OH Cities
Thanks to recent changes made to an Ohio two-year budget bill, the state’s three biggest counties – Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton – may be able to add two more retail sports-gaming sites to their counties. Each county is currently allotted 5. The bill is awaiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature.
According to the Comparison Document, which provides descriptions and fiscal estimates for the Main Operating Appropriations Bill, Revised Code 3775.04 “increases, from five to seven, the maximum number of sports gaming facilities that may be located in a county with a population of 800,000 or more.”
Counties with fewer than 50,000 residents are still not permitted to host a sportsbook and it “retains the overall limit of 40 sports gaming facilities in the state at any given time.”
Some Ohio #sportsbetting news after the House budget omnibus amendment:
1. Increases cap from 5 to 7 for Type B retail facilities in Ohio's 3 largest counties (Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton).
2. Removes Executive budget provisions on "free" and "risk-free" credit promotions.
— Dan Dodd (@dan_dodd) April 26, 2023
New Ohio Retail Sports Betting Picture
Per the initial sports betting bill that legalized sports betting in the state, priority for physical sportsbook licenses (Type B) are given to the state’s professional sports teams as well as state-owned casinos and racinos.
Cincinnati, which sits in Hamilton County, has already issued four of its licenses – one each to the Cincinnati Reds, FC Cincinnati, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, and Belterra Park. Under the new revision, Hamilton has three left to distribute, one of which will likely go to the Cincinnati Bengals if they apply.
Columbus – situated in Franklin County – is home to NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, which obtained a license alongside Scioto Downs, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Hollywood Casino Columbus, and the Columbus Crew. Five of Franklin’s seven allotted licenses are taken.
Lastly, Cuyahoga County, home to the city of Cleveland, is also home to teams from three of the big four sports leagues – the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cleveland Guardians – all of which have already gained a license. JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino also have a license to operate there. There are two additional licenses to be distributed here.
Were the revision to pass, roughly seven more retail sports betting sites could be granted a license across Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton County, with the only stipulation being that the 40-license maximum is not exceeded. Currently, there are only 23 issued Type B licenses in the state, so those three counties could maximize their licensing expenditure and still leave room for smaller counties to add more as well.