The first batch of candidates to apply for licenses for legal sports betting in Ohio includes the expected online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar casinos—in addition to one of the state’s NFL franchises.
Cincinnati Bengals apply for sports betting license to accept wagers in Ohio
BetMGM, PointsBet, DraftKings, Betfair, Fanatics and Penn National have all applied for licenses, too
Caesars Sportsbook and BallyBet are expected to apply before the initial deadline of July 15
The Cincinnati Bengals are among those who have already applied for a license to accept wagers when legal sports betting in the Buckeye State launches on Jan. 1, 2023. According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Bengals submitted an application July 8 for a Type A license, which is designated for online sportsbooks.
The Bengals would partner with at least one established online sportsbook operator to accept and process wagers; who that might be is not yet known, since only applicants, and not partners, are currently specified on the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s list. Pro sports teams are among the entities able to apply for legal sports betting licenses under the Ohio law.
BetMGM, DraftKings also apply
BetMGM, PointsBet, DraftKings, Betfair, Fanatics and Penn National (which operates Barstool Sportsbook) had all submitted mobile service provider license applications to the Ohio Casino Control Commission as of July 8. In addition to the Bengals, Jack Cleveland Casino, Jack Thistledown Racino, and Hall of Fame Village have also applied to host mobile sports betting.
Jack Cleveland Casino, Jack Thistledown Racino and Hall of Fame Village have also submitted Type B applications, which are designated for retail sportsbooks. Mobile service providers and entities seeking Type A and B licenses were able to begin applying for licenses on June 15. The application window for primary mobile service providers closes July 15, the same day the window opens for secondary mobile service providers and entities seeking Type C licenses—designated for bars and restaurants seeking to operate betting kiosks.
There are almost certain to be more applicants added to Ohio’s list. The current list of submissions does not include Caesars Sportsbook, which has already announced plans to partner with the Cleveland Cavaliers to open a betting facility inside the NBA team’s home arena. The current list also does not include BallyBet, which has announced plans for a branded lounge inside the home arena of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
Ohio’s countdown to launch
Legal sports betting in Ohio was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in December after a three-year legislative tussle over tax rates and oversight. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has labeled Jan. 1, 2023 as its “universal” start date, meaning that it’s the earliest possible day that any mobile or retail sports wagers can be accepted. Under the Ohio law, it’s also the deadline by which legal sports betting must launch.
And launch day promises to pose a real test for Ohio’s new sportsbooks, given that Jan. 1 is an NFL Sunday—the penultimate weekend of the regular season—with college football’s Rose, Cotton, and Tampa Bay bowls all following the next day. Under the Ohio Casino Control Commission timeline for launch, all facility plans and geolocation procedures must be ready by Nov. 2, and all equipment must be ready for verification by Dec. 2.
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