With a large population, three major cities, and a full menu of major pro and college sports. Ohio is a natural for online sports gambling. Cleveland is home to the NFL Browns, NBA Cavaliers, and MLB Guardians. Columbus hosts the NHL Blue Jackets and the Ohio State University Buckeyes. At the same time, Cincinnati is home to the NFL Bengals and MLB Reds. Mid-major college football and basketball thrive throughout the state. Thus, Ohio went live for sports gambling in 2023.

Ohio is a legal sports betting state after the passage of HB 29. The language of the law creates the potential for dozens of sportsbooks to set up shop in Ohio. Companies may pursue several different types of sports betting licenses, and Ohioans will soon see legal options pop up close to them.

State of Ohio Sports Betting Overview

Ohio sports betting has officially been legalized, with retail and online wagering now live. With a maximum of 25 sports betting licenses up for grabs that could allow a maximum of 50 online sports betting operators, Ohio will be one of the largest wagering markets in the country.

The number of Ohio online sportsbooks launched on January 1, 2023, provides a massive opportunity for new sports bettors. Downloading the best Ohio online sportsbooks and registering a new account is the only way to unlock the best promos in the industry.

Ohio’s online sports betting law facilitates a competitive environment, with more than two dozen operators slated to launch mobile betting apps. All the nation’s most prominent brands and many lesser-known operators have already launched or will soon offer legal online sports betting in Ohio.

State of Ohio Sports Betting Timeline

Jan. 10, 2023 — Ohio sports betting handle hit $846.2 million in November, the highest total for the state since the first legal month in January 2023. November’s total was a 15% increase month-over-month.

Jan. 3, 2023 — Ohio’s four brick-and-mortar casinos recorded a record high for November revenue with more than $80 million.

Dec. 28, 2023 — The OCCC has partnered with GamFin, a financial counseling company, to support people with gambling-related behavioral issues.

Dec. 20, 2023 — Ohioans wagered $1.2 million at sports betting kiosks in November, the fourth-best total ever for the state.

Dec. 14, 2023 — Ohioans can now access Gamban’s app and website blocking service for free for a year. The service is the state’s latest tool to help promote responsible gaming.

Dec. 6, 2023 — Ohio sports betting handle hit $742.9 million in October, up 8.2% from September. Revenue and taxes were both down slightly month-over-month.

In 2023, legal online sports betting officially launched in Ohio on January 1 at midnight. Several online sportsbooks, including DraftKings and FanDuel, began taking bets in the state.

Ohio sports betting handle was a whopping $1.11 billion in January, the state’s first full month in operation. $1.09 billion of that total came via online sports betting. Revenue was $208.9 million, a single-month record for any state. 

In 2022, in the wake of DeWine’s signature on HB 29, the Ohio Casino Control Commission spent the first half of 2022 preparing its rules for administering sports betting in the Buckeye State. It released several sets of rules for public comment and adjusted the language in the proposals according to feedback from stakeholders. In addition, the licensing applications are subject to the same type of public comment.

In early May, the OCCC announced that it would accept license applications for most types of sports betting licenses during a month-long window in June 2022 and July 2022. The remaining licenses will gain access to the process in their own window, a month-long opportunity immediately following the first window and stretching into August 2022.

The commission confirmed on the first day of June that sports betting would begin in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023, as previously suggested. Two weeks later, the OCCC began receiving the first sports betting license applications.

The first companies to apply for licensure are BetMGM and PointsBet, but other interested parties quickly join them. The Cincinnati Bengals became the first Ohio sports franchise to apply for its license in July 2022. On Aug. 3, OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said sportsbooks can accept bets at midnight on January 1.

In 2021, with new legislators, like State Sen. Kirk Schuring, taking up the cause of passing an OH sports betting bill, the process essentially started over again in Ohio.

Schuring introduced his own sports betting bill, SB 176, in May 2021. After about a month of discussion, the bill passed through the Senate, but its momentum stalled when it reached the House.

Schuring realized that the chance of a hearing for SB 176 in the House before the summer 2021 recess was very low, so he took the guts of the bill and grafted them onto an unrelated measure, HB 29, that had a better opportunity to move forward.

After several months of debate, HB 29 passed through the House and Senate with several amendments to allow sports betting. Although several of the particulars of the bill changed from Schuring’s initial vision, the basic shape of SB 176 was signed by DeWine in late December.