The march to Jan. 1, 2023, for Ohio sports betting is moving right along. In their most recent meeting, gambling regulators in the state approved a set of license applications.
In addition, they finalized some important regulations for the oncoming expansion of legal gaming.
Among the approvals were four more Ohio online sportsbook operators, a unique ownership situation for a physical sportsbook, and several vendors. As a last order of business on the day, regulators began discussions on which sporting events all licensees will be able to take action on.
More Ohio sports betting licenses were approved Wednesday
Altogether, 14 applicants received approval during Wednesday morning’s Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) meeting. Half of those approvals went to companies that aim to provide services for operators like OpenBet and Playtech.
The OCCC also approved two Type C license applications. Those licenses are for non-gaming businesses like convenience stores that want to host sports betting kiosks on their premises. Eventually, there could be hundreds of such kiosks operational across Ohio.
Perhaps the most notable approval of the day was an operator license for Geneva Sports LLC, which owns a fitness center and college preparatory school in Ohio. It’s currently unclear exactly where Geneva will place its physical sportsbook.
Anywhere on the grounds of its SPIRE Institute school seems unlikely.
As far as online operators go, the most recognizable brands associated with Wednesday’s four license approvals went to betParx and Fanatics. Wednesday was a great day for both of those companies, as they nearly simultaneously received licensure in Maryland as well on Wednesday morning.
These approvals make it more probable that these sportsbooks will be available to Ohioans on New Year’s Day 2023. That wasn’t all the Commission took action on Wednesday, however.
Commissioners discuss and finalize regulations
The OCCC also unanimously voted to approve final regulations for Ohio’s revamped gambling self-exclusion program. This important resource provides a way for Ohioans who struggle with compulsive gambling behavior to protect themselves and now includes provisions for online sports betting.
Ohio has been active in initiating programs to assist people who experience problem gambling in this and other regards. For example, a pilot program in the state could allow people to clear their criminal records upon completion of rehabilitation therapies.
Commissioners began to address the subject of creating a catalog of allowable events for sports wagering in the state. The discussion involved using submissions from sports governing bodies as a starting point and getting operator feedback to refine the catalog.
Another point of discussion was how to treat bets on league awards like MVP and Rookie of the Year. OCCC members expressed concern over the integrity of such markets and communicating standards for these bets with operators. It’s important to note that there is nothing statutory banning such bets in Ohio.
Additionally, there’s no reason to take the conversation as alluding to a ban on such bets coming from the regulations. The discussion merely acted to center integrity as a top priority. Such markets will likely be available on Jan. 1, 2023, to some extent.
After Wednesday’s meeting, both betParx and Fanatics should be available on the same day.