The scheduled 2023 Ohio sports betting launch is no longer going according to plan.
To be clear, there will still be sports betting in Ohio at the turn of the calendar. The state remains committed to opening legal Ohio sports betting on January 1, 2023. That's the good news.
However, the initial rollout presumed every sportsbook and venue approved for a license would be ready to rock at this time. As it turns out, this may no longer be the case.
Licensing issues have started surfacing as Ohio nears their self-imposed start date. And these hangups may mean bettors throughout the state will begin the sports betting era with a limited number of options at their disposal.
Sportsbooks Desperately Trying to Make 2023 Ohio Sports Betting Launch
As part of obtaining a sports betting license, all applicants agreed to turn in documentation on their company ownership and holdings. Though there was no strictly enforced due date for this information, prospective sports-betting license holders would not be allowed to open for business on January 1 without providing them.
The prevailing sentiment was this wouldn't be an issue. Companies, venues, sports teams, local businesses and the like are all chomping at the bit to generate sports betting revenue. The expectation was that they would submit the necessary documentation without a problem.
So much for that.
In a phone call with the media to close September, the Director of Communications for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Jessica Franks, said the state is still waiting on more than a handful of applicants to turn in their proof of company ownership and holdings. As such, the Ohio Casino Control Commission has implemented an October 5 deadline for the offenders. And if any sportsbooks fail to submit the necessary documentation by then, they won't be allowed to accept bets during the Ohio sports betting launch.
“They have known about this requirement basically since the law passed, and they have known about it since the applications were made available to them," Franks explained on the call, according to Gaming Today. "So we cannot issue licenses if we do not have the information regarding who has control of the applicant."
How Many Sportsbooks are in Danger of Missing the Ohio Deadline?
During her call with the media, Franks did not specifically identify which applicants had failed to provide the required information. Therefore, it is not clear how widespread this issue has become.
Still, some are worried that the Ohio sports betting launch will look different than expected.
According to Gaming Today, not one of the 25 sportsbooks who applied for a mobile betting license has been approved. That seems to suggest all of them have failed to submit the necessary documentation with their applications. Frankly, though, that's incredibly hard to believe. The list of companies to apply for Ohio mobile sports betting licenses includes heavy hitters like FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings and many more. These are not companies that would drag their feet. They all know how profitable sports betting is in a market like Ohio, which plays home to pro franchises across all major North American leagues.
Even if some of these well-known sportsbooks have yet to finish their applications, there's no way every single one of them has failed to wrap up that process. This is standard procedure for these situations. All of these companies have been through this before. It would take a special level of poor preparation on their part for the Ohio sports betting launch to take place without a single approved online sportsbook.
More likely, Ohio is waiting to give their final stamp of approval for online sports betting applications until the October 5 deadline comes and goes. Around that time, we should have a better idea of which companies have failed to complete the final steps of their paperwork and screening.
Ohio Sports Betting Launch Could Lack In-Person Options
If the Ohio sports betting launch ends up wanting for online options, bettors in the state needn't fret. They can still use the internet to place wagers by signing up with one of the sites that appear in our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. A limited online-betting rollout also isn't expected to be forever. The Ohio Casino Control Commission noted to the media that sportsbooks can still be approved for a gambling license if they miss the October 5 deadline. They just won't be allowed to open for business until sometime thereafter.
Then again, this bump in the road may not impact Ohio online sports betting at all. So many of the licensing candidates are major corporations that have done this before. Instead, it stands to reason that on-site betting will take the biggest hit.
While many casinos have no doubt finished their applications, Ohio has special licenses for smaller business hoping to accept bets via kiosks. Those candidates are more likely to struggle with documenting their holdings than retail sportsbooks. There has also been some talk that some of the Ohio sports teams who applied for sports betting licenses are trying to wrap up partnership deals before turning in the rest of their information.
This is all to say: The 2023 Ohio sports betting launch doesn't look like it will be unfolding without a hitch—or at full capacity. On that bright side, given what we know, this seems like it will be a temporary issue rather than a problem to monitor over the long term.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your sports betting needs: