Legal sports betting in the state of Ohio is mandated to begin by January 1, 2023, but lawmakers are now suggesting that sportsbooks could be open for business in time for the 2022 MLB World Series when it begins this October.
While regional gamblers are enthusiastic about the prospect of Ohio sports betting, analysts are projecting that the decision to delay the opening of domestic sportsbooks beyond the beginning of the 2022 NFL season will cost the Buckeye State millions of dollars in potential tax collection revenue.
NFL betting is the major driver in all forms of legal sports betting around the country, and that is especially true in Ohio where the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns possess legions of dedicated fans.
While the Ohio state legislature is aware of this fact, their intention is to perfect the process prior to the onset of the debut of sports betting. A hasty rollout would certainly enhance the state budget totals a few months earlier than the current agenda provides for, but when billions of dollars are on the line, the details must be handled delicately.
Analysts believe that the first year of sports betting in Ohio will generate over a billion dollars in handle per year, with that number growing to $3.5 billion within three years’ time.
“Sometime I would think in the mid-to-late fall we would have everything operational.”
Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring
While a billion dollars is nothing to scoff at, Ohio’s sports betting revenue estimations seem well within reach and perhaps a little bit low when examining legal sportsbook territories of similar size and gambling interest.
For instance, Ohio’s rival to the north, Michigan, has roughly 2 million fewer residents but is currently pulling in between $400,000,000 and $500,000,000 in handle each month.
If Ohio can match 50% of MI’s totals, the first year handle totals will be in the neighborhood of $3 billion.
Gamblers located near the border of Ohio can currently travel north and legally access venues for Michigan sports betting and place a bet on any major sports that they choose.
Once domestic Ohio sportsbooks open for business, bordering states will no longer be a draw for in-state gamblers.
Because the Ohio legislature has passed online sports betting regulations, offshore sportsbooks will not cut as deeply into the profits.
International sports betting websites can currently accept wagers over the web from 18 and over gamblers because there are no Ohio laws (or federal) that prohibit them.
States that have opted for in-person sportsbooks without any online options are still sending millions of dollars per month to offshore sports betting sites. Ohio has done right by its constituents and ensured the maximum domestic sports betting coverage currently allowable.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission plans to begin accepting applications for Ohio sportsbooks on June 15th, giving state legislators plenty of time to iron out the regulatory wrinkles in time for their proposed October start.