Dozens of Sportsbooks Unlikely in Ohio, Regulator Says


When legal sports betting in Ohio begins, bettors probably won’t have as many sportsbook options as the law allows, the state’s top gaming regulator said.

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In every state, the same half dozen sportsbook operators consume 90% of the market, said Matt Schuler, the Ohio Casino Control Commission executive director.

Some popular sportsbooks operating across the country include BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.

The executive director said he doesn’t envision Ohio having the dozens of sportsbooks allowed under the law, according to Vixio Gaming Compliance.

Sports Betting is Legal But Not Yet Operational in Ohio

Late last year, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation into law legalizing brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and mobile wagering with the use of smartphones and computers.

In addition to betting on professional and collegiate sports, people also will be able to wager on automobile racing, Olympic events and more.

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Before sports betting can begin, the commission must first establish the rules to govern the industry.

The law requires sports betting to begin no later than Jan. 1, 2023, though supporters hope it can get started at least in time for football season this fall.

Dozens of Sportsbook Operators Allowed in Ohio

Ohio can have as many as 50 mobile sportsbooks and 40 land-based betting sites. The land-based ticket windows can be located at four casinos, seven racinos and 10 professional sports venues, according to a commission report.

In addition, betting kiosks will be available in bars and restaurants with liquor permits.

Schuler said he doesn’t believe the state will see that number of sports-betting operators.

In states with 20 or so sportsbooks, the same five or six dominate the market, with the rest “trying to get some fraction of a percent,” he said.

“I don’t know why Ohio would be different, so while there’s a lot of demand, it will be interesting to see if the market determines that will hold, given those dynamics happening in state after state with the same companies and largely the same market share,” Schuler said.

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Some States Don’t Have Max Number of Sportsbooks

In some states, the number of mobile sportsbook operators is below the total allowed.

In Louisiana, legislation that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law last year allows for up to 41 mobile sportsbook platforms, called “skins.”

However, after the start of legal mobile sports betting this year on Jan. 28, seven online bookmakers have gone live in the state.

WynnBet is the most recent mobile sportsbook to become operational in Louisiana.

In New York, mobile sports betting was launched on Jan. 8. Nine online bookmakers have been authorized to make their apps available to bettors, but almost three months later, only eight are operational.

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BallyBet New York Sportsbook is the only one of the original nine not yet accepting sports wagers. The app is expected to be available in the first half of this year.

Ohio Surrounded by Sports Betting States

Of the five states bordering Ohio, only one, Kentucky, has not legalized sports betting, though legislation is under consideration at the statehouse in Frankfort that would add Kentucky to the list of states with sports wagering.

Nationwide, sports betting is legal in 30 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal but not operational in Ohio, Florida and Nebraska.

In addition to Kentucky, 11 other state Legislatures are considering measures to legalize sports wagering.

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