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Ohioans have watched and waited for their state legislature to pass a sports betting bill over the past several years. Previous attempts struggled to gain footing. Why did it take so long? The state’s betting bills hit several speed bumps on the way, including missed votes, delays and last-minute amendments.
But in December 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, finally signed Ohio sports betting into law. House Bill 29 legalized sports betting. Under the law, the Ohio Lottery and the Ohio Casino Control Commission would regulate the state’s sports betting industry. After a full year of regulatory and licensing work, Ohio sports betting launched on Jan. 1, 2023.
The Buckeye State has received attention from betting operators. Ohio loves its sports, the tax rate on sportsbooks is lower than most states, and plenty of licenses are up for grabs. A competitive market will benefit Ohio betting consumers. This page will cover everything you need to know about Ohio sports betting.
Ohio’s sports betting law designated three different types of licenses. The differences are meant to benefit a variety of Ohio businesses.
Type A License—25 licenses are available for the state’s casinos and sports teams (at the time of this writing, Ohio has only 10 teams/events and 11 casinos/racinos). Each licensee is expected to tether (partner) with one or two online sportsbooks. Theoretically, Ohio could see up to 50 mobile operators–but there won’t be that many in the market.
Type B License—40 licenses are up for grabs for those looking to have a brick-and-mortar sportsbook and can tether with a single operator. Ohio limits counties based on their population and visitation. Only Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Franklin County (Columbus) and Hamilton County (Cincinnati) can have a maximum of five Type B licenses. Twenty counties can only have one Type B license, while 68 don’t meet the license threshold.
Type C License—20 licenses are available, and these are for betting kiosks run by the Ohio Lottery. “20 Licenses” might be easily misconstrued. Each licensee can work with an unlimited number of “hosts” (e.g., restaurants and bars) as long as the host has a liquor license. While significantly cheaper, these kiosks are severely limited in the types of bets they can take.
Starting in January, retail and mobile sports betting was operational in the Buckeye State. Unlike some states that prohibit betting on in-state colleges, Ohio will have no such restriction.
Note that a handful of the Type B licenses still need to line up mobile service providers. This page will be updated when those partnerships are announced.
Sportsbooks are taxed at a 10% rate. Four of the five states surrounding Ohio have sports betting already, so keeping Ohioans home will boost the state’s tax revenue. After paying the state’s Department of Taxation for any expenses incurred, 98% of the remaining tax revenue is placed in the Sports Gaming Profits Education Fund (SGPEF).
The SGPEF is dedicated to Ohio’s schools, both public and private. The General Assembly can decide how to allocate the money, but 50% must be used on extracurricular activities. License fees are also funneled into the SGPEF, except for 0.5% that is sent to the Sports Gaming Profits Veterans Fund for various veterans initiatives.
The other 2% goes to the newly created Problem Sports Gaming Fund. The fund’s programs are unspecified but designed to help problem gamblers. This bill also created a nine-member committee to look at problem gambling and its funding.
Ohio is surrounded by other sports betting markets. To remain competitive, Ohio policymakers crafted a law that mostly aligns with their state neighbors.
The sports betting industry has long eyed the Buckeye State due to its population of about 11.8 million people and popular sports teams. Ohio has many loyal sports fans rooting for various teams.
For online bettors in Ohio, there are a few ways you can expect to fund your betting account. You can use your debit/credit card, set up an ACH transfer with your bank or use a digital payment from PayPal.
Likewise, you can withdraw funds from your sportsbook account either with a bank transfer, PayPal or by requesting a check by mail. These methods will take time, usually a few days. A check typically takes 7-14 days.
Other payment and withdrawal methods may be available in Ohio, depending on the sportsbook you use. For example, you will most likely be able to withdraw from a casino cashier’s cage if you use the casino’s partnered sportsbook.
Ohio law requires a sportsbook, in times when they need ID, to run a winner through the state’s database to confirm that there are no outstanding debts.
For those setting up their first account with a sportsbook, a promotion will likely be offered to welcome you to the platform.
A “no-sweat first bet” (aka “risk-free first bet”) is the most common bonus type. If your first bet loses, you will be given a non-withdrawable “free bet” equal to your first wager (up to a limit) as a sort of second chance.
One important point: If your redemption bet hits, you only get the winnings. For example, if you bet $100 on the Bengals moneyline at odds of -178, the normal payout would be $156 ($56 in winnings plus your initial wager). If you use a free bet, you’ll only get $56.
Deposit bonuses offer some of the highest dollar amounts in the world of sportsbook bonuses. A sportsbook will match your deposit (often in free bets). The catch: There is likely a playthrough requirement, meaning you must bet a certain amount before the free bets are “unlocked” and allowed to be used.
If you’re lucky, the playthrough is 1X (100%), meaning you just need to bet your deposit on low-risk bets. Some are 5X (500%), so if you deposit $100, you must bet $500 in a limited timeframe. Be sure to read the fine print. Some sportsbooks require you to bet on odds of -200 or longer for your wager to count toward the requirement.
Odds boosts are also an option. Sportsbooks will pay far greater odds for a bet that is reasonably expected to hit. This is ideal for bettors who don’t want to risk too much. An example would be to bet $10 on any basketball game and win $150 in free bets if any player hits a three-pointer.
These types of boosts are often seasonal. You might find a basketball-related bonus around the start of the NBA season or perhaps a hockey betting bonus during the NHL playoffs.
Ohio sports betting law and regulation allows all the standard betting methods found at various sportsbooks in other states. Ohio didn’t reinvent the wheel with its market.
Here is a list of the most common types of wagers at Ohio’s legal and regulated online betting sites.
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Ethan Matthew, a native Marylander, has covered the sports betting industry for Covers, PlayVirginia and PlayMaryland. He also publishes sports game previews with USA Today.
Brian Pempus is a Penn State journalism graduate who has covered the U.S. gambling industry since 2009, starting with Card Player Magazine in Las Vegas. He was later Deputy Editor of sports betting at Better Collective and Managing Editor at The Game Day, before joining Forbes Betting as Lead Editor in 2022. Follow him on Twitter with @BrianPempus.

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