Ohio, which initially passed legislation permitting online gambling in December 2021, has finally given a confirmed date for the launch of its sportsbooks. There are still a couple of months to wait for sports fans in the state, as the launch has been announced for the 1st of January, 2023. This means that fans in Cleveland and Cincinnati will have the chance to bet on their NFL teams at least once before the season is out, with the final week of regular season games coming on the 8th.
This will spark something of a rush for the potential sportsbooks to get ready for the big launch, as the Ohio Casino Control Commission confirmed that a number of license applicants have yet to submit key parts of their supporting documentation. Companies that have missed the October 5 deadline can still submit the missing paperwork, but will not be in a position to launch their sites and apps on the agreed date, potentially missing out on a significant slice of the early betting action.
As of this moment, some licenses have already been approved, but a significant number of the 25 expected applicants remain outstanding. The time between now and the launch date will presumably see a number of announcements as licenses are granted and signed off, and the names on the list we can expect to see offering online betting as 2023 begins includes all of the big names, including DraftKings and Barstool Sports.
The announcement of an official launch date brings to a close almost a year of speculation as to when the state would have official legal sports betting. A bill was agreed upon last year and signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on 22nd December last. Since then, the Commission has been working slowly through the process to get sports betting up and running. Now, there is some light at the end of that particular tunnel.
When the betting platforms do go live, it is likely that it will be in an environment in which football fans in the state are still hoping that their teams can extend their season into the playoffs. Up to this point, both the Browns and the Bengals sit at 2-3 in a tie for second place in the AFC North, and are trying to overcome the limitations of a porous defense and a rickety offensive line respectively. However, with sportsbook facilities due to open at both teams’ stadiums, betting is likely to be brisk on the first two weekends of 2023.