CINCINNATI — The Ohio Casino Control Commission has ended speculation about an early start to sports betting in Ohio by announcing the launch will happen “close to January 1, 2023,” the deadline imposed by lawmakers in December.
Two state senators told media outlets this week that Ohio might launch in October to take advantage of betting demand caused by NFL football and baseball’s World Series. But Executive Director Matt Schuler told the commission Wednesday morning too much work needs to be done for the launch date to move up.
“For everyone interested, they really should expect it to be very close to – if not on – January 1st,” spokeswoman Jessica Franks said. “We anticipate roughly 3,000 (license applications) might come in. We’re going to need to do all of those investigations to issue those licenses and then make sure they’re in compliance with all of the rules and regulations. We’re going to need all of that time right up until January.”
Ohio has yet to finalize applications for the nine different kinds of licenses it will offer, but it has established three licensing windows during which applications can be submitted.
For 30 days starting June 15, Ohio will accept applications for:
- Up to 25 online sports books (Type-A licenses)
- Up to 40 retail sports books, including 11 professional sports locations, four casinos and 11 racinos.(Type-B licenses)
- Type-C licenses for sports-kiosk proprietors, which will operate betting terminals in bars and restaurants through the Ohio Lottery Commission.
- First-designated mobile management service providers, which will partner with Type-A and -B license holders to place sports bets.
- Suppliers of equipment used for sports betting.
The second application window starts July 15 for:
- Second-designated MMSPs, or service providers that want to establish a second partnership to take sports bets through a Type-A online proprietor.
- Type-C sports gaming hosts, which are restaurants and bars that already do business with the Ohio Lottery and want to add up to two sports-betting kiosks in their establishments.
A third licensing window for sports-book employees will start 60 days before the “universal start date” for sports-betting in Ohio.
That date will be announced June 1.
In addition to employee licensing, sports books must submit responsible gaming plans, house rules and equipment tests to Ohio regulators 60 days before launch. And they’ll have to have equipment “ready for Commission verification” 30 days prior to launch.
“The businesses themselves need that certainty about when it’s going to start because they’ve got to get their facilities ready,” Franks said. “They’ve got to hire staff. They’ve got to get them trained. They’ve got to get them licensed when needed. So, for them, having that universal start date where they know they have that time, it’s also going to be important for them as well.”
The Ohio Lottery Commission said Monday that it notified more than 2,000 bars and restaurants on May 4 that they could be eligible for a sports-gaming host license. As of May 16, at least 550 of those companies had already submitted sports gaming interest forms that that will let regulators start verifying their qualifications.
“At the end of this month, we will start to post the pre-qualified host retailers on our web site,” said Jon Dillinger, deputy director for the Ohio Lottery. “The goal will be for potential proprietors to access and really start to gather that information to give them an idea of the number of pre-qualified hosts that we have, where those are located throughout the state and also start initial conversations about partnering together.”
Companies that don’t make the list or were not invited to submit interest forms can seek an application by filling out a form on the lottery’s web site. The lottery will make recommendations on whether Type C licenses should be granted, but the Casino Control Commission will have the final say.