With the Ohio State Buckeyes returning to the College Football Playoff, the state’s bettors were left on the sidelines ahead of the official start of legalized sports betting in Ohio. They don’t have to wait long.
On January 1, 2023, bettors in the Buckeye State will join 31 other states (and Washington, D.C.) where they can legally bet on their favorite teams and sports. That includes betting on in-state college football teams — something that is currently banned in several states, including New York and New Jersey.
As of Tuesday, more than a dozen sportsbooks, including BetMGM, Caesars and FanDuel, were licensed in Ohio to begin betting as soon as New Year’s Day. It comes more than a year after the state passed a law that legalized sports betting and a day after Ohio State’s College Football Playoff semifinal against defending champion Georgia.
So how did we get here? And will Ohio’s big launch come in time for fans to bet on a bowl season?
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Ohio sports betting is getting closer to January 1st
Ohioans have endured a long-running battle to legalize sports betting in the nation’s seventh-largest state, one of the latest major dominoes to fall after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning sports gambling in May 2018.
Efforts to legalize sports betting in Ohio were stalled in 2019 before lawmakers defeated House Bill 29, which passed by a majority vote on December 8, 2021. Governor Mike DeWine signed HB 29 two weeks later by a majority. It hopes to be fully implemented statewide by January 1, 2023.
That didn’t disappoint Ohio sports fans, but the year-long run gave sportsbooks plenty of time to prepare for the much-anticipated launch next month. As of Tuesday, 16 sports betting operators had been granted launch day betting licenses, with more expected in the coming weeks.
In total, HB 29 allows up to 50 online and mobile operators and 40 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, while nearly a thousand licenses have already been issued for kiosk-style betting with tighter restrictions. This includes hundreds of kiosks at popular grocery stores, but most of them won’t be operational until the end of 2023.
Sports fans look forward to Ohio sports betting
Few states are better suited for legalized sports gambling than Ohio, which has a large population and is one of the only states with teams in all four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). . It’s no wonder the state’s betting market generates more than $1 billion annually, according to some estimates.
Take a look at how popular sports betting has become in neighboring states, which has seen great success since its launch. In fact, nearby Pennsylvania and Illinois took in more sports betting revenue than Nevada last year, with Michigan rounding out the top five.
Ohio is on track for a similar debut, and the college market, in particular, could separate Buckeye State from the pack. Unlike some states, bettors will be able to bet on local teams like Ohio State and Cincinnati, which have played in the College Football Playoff the past two seasons.
While the Jan. 1 kickoff isn’t exactly the right time to root for the Buckeyes in this year’s playoff semifinals, Ohioans can bet on Big Ten schools Penn State, Purdue and Illinois — all in their own bowls. are poor. Games on January 2. And if Ohio State wins on Dec. 31, it could set up an all-time showdown with archrival Michigan in the championship game a week later.
The early odds favor the Buckeyes in that hypothetical rematch, which would be the ultimate holiday gift for bettors in the state. Until then, they’ll circle January 1 on their calendars ahead of what promises to be a busy (and historic) day in Ohio.