Sports betting is finally coming to Ohio


DraftKings, Caesars, FanDuel and more are likely going to be marketing at your face at a higher rate soon now that the inevitable has occurred.

Ohio House Bill 29 was passed by a 72-12 vote on Wednesday, pushing sports betting to be one step away from being a legalized reality in the state.

The final tally moved the bill along to governor Mike DeWine’s desk to be signed, and the governor has previously stated the activity is something which needed to be regulated long ago. Sports betting will be available in Ohio.

The earliest start date licenses would go into effect is April 1, 2022, with Jan. 1, 2023 as the latest possibility. Casinos would not be the lone operators, as mobile options will spring into action quickly and your favorite professional venues will vie for access as well.

After the U. S. Supreme Court allowed for legalized sports betting outside of Nevada in 2018, it has already been in place for several years in neighboring states to Ohio, which include Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

According to the state of Indiana’s gaming commission revenue report for the month of October, the total handle (or wagers) was $458,918,977. It set a new record for the third consecutive month, which I’m sure the state has the NFL to thank. The adjusted gross revenue gained from those wagers was over $27 million.

The rising popularity with its rapid growth across the United States cannot be denied. And there is less than a 1 percent chance zero of those aforementioned dollars in Indiana came from Ohio residents looking for legal options. The same goes for any of the other states within shouting distance.

Ohio has been letting dollars walk out the door as legislatures dragged their feet in reaching the inescapable result which was going to emerge from this process. Now that money should remain here and not leave with any sort of regularity.

The kind of revenue numbers mentioned is not the expectation for each of the 12 months in a year. The NFL reigns supreme in boosting wagering and the sport primarily only takes place over four months. But the lasting popularity and fandom for Cincinnati’s Bengals and Reds, Cleveland’s Browns and Guardians, and the growing movements of soccer and hockey, not to mention a powerhouse like Ohio State athletics, will surely make it a popular activity to partake in year round.

Tax dollars which will come from gambling, which is expected to be at a 10 percent rate, will be put forth to public and private school funding measures as well as supporting problem gamblers (as always with most things in life, responsibility and moderation are best).

An April 1 start date next year would miss the NCAA men’s basketball tournament by two weeks, which is traditionally one of the largest and worst kept secrets of gambling and bracket pools across the country.

If the issue has already lingered the last three-plus years, what is another two weeks past a large revenue opportunity right out of the gate. We may as well let some dollars leave town once more for old times’ sake, right?

It’s best for everyone though that this back-room, previously “hush hush” activity can be moved into the open where all parties can participate in a safer way.

What has been unavoidable is coming, and the state will benefit from it happening.

Steven Wright

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_. If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, you can call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966.

No posts to display