On December 22, 2021, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29 into law which legalizes sports betting in Ohio. This comes three years after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law prohibiting state-sponsored sports betting. Accordingly, Ohio becomes the 33rd state to allow such betting, alongside the neighboring states of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Ohioans will be able to place bets on professional, college, and esports no later than January 1, 2023. This includes betting at casinos, racinos, professional sports stadiums, and online.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission (“OCCC”) and the Ohio Lottery will be regulating the industry. Those who want to offer sports betting in Ohio will have to apply for a gambling license. These licenses are awarded for five-years. Moreover, the OCCC will offer three types of licenses. Licenses will be made available for online and mobile app betting, brick-and-mortar stores, and bars and restaurants with certain liquor permits. The OCCC will begin issuance on April 1, 2022. Furthermore, licensed operators may receive tax incentives starting in 2027.
According to an estimate by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Ohio’s sports betting market is expected to be $3.35 billion after several years of operation. Governor DeWine explained that sports betting is already occurring, “[s]o it’s time to bring in Ohio, to regulate it and get a little more money for schools.” Accordingly, a 10 percent tax will be placed on the industry’s net revenue. Under the bill, roughly 98 percent of the money will go towards funding public and private K-12 education. The remaining 2 percent will go towards state-sponsored Problem Sports Gaming and Addiction Fund.
Crabbe, Brown & James has tracked this multi-year process. Check out our previous articles which provide an explanation of competing Senate and House Bills, outline the economic benefit of sports betting legalization, and detail Senate Bill 176 which shares similarities with House Bill 29.
Our firm works with clients to navigate Ohio’s administrative agencies and the many complex rules and regulations. Through our litigation and regulatory compliance teams, we represent gaming clients with licenses and operations in dozens of states. We worked with the OVFCC in its successful effort to legalize e-bingo in Ohio. On July 1, 2021 Governor DeWine signed Ohio’s budget legislation which included provisions legalizing e-bingo in Ohio.