If you’re a Cleveland Browns fan hoping to wager on (or against) your team in the upcoming football season, you’re going to get your chance.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to come until the New Year’s Day game in Week 17 against the Washington Commanders. Cincinnati Bengals fans will have to wait one day longer, as they face off Jan. 2 in what could be a pivotal matchup with the Buffalo Bills. After a full schedule of Week 18 games, the NFL Playoffs will begin.
But at least there is now an official start date. The Ohio Casino Control Commission met Wednesday morning to announce the universal start date for Ohio sports betting and, as expected — Happy New Year! — it’s going to be Jan. 1, 2023.
The 10 a.m. virtual meeting, which lasted a little less than 12 minutes, also introduced new commissioner Sheetal Bajoria, confirmed the deadline for applications and expanded the timeline from August through to the start date.
More Clarity on the Timeline
That timeline is as follows: The first window for applications from Type A, B, & C proprietors, first designated Mobile Management Service Providers (MMSPs), and Management Service Providers (MSPs), and suppliers will run from June 15 until July 15. Type A licenses are reserved for mobile gaming and professional sports. The state’s existing casinos and racinos may apply for these.
Type B licenses will be allotted to brick-and-mortar sportsbook facilities. Type C licenses will go to proprietors of self-service terminals, who have D-class liquor licenses. The window for applications from Type C sports gaming hosts & second designated MMSPs will run from July 15 to Aug. 15.
On Aug. 1, the window opens for applicants to submit responsible gaming plans, facility plans, equipment testing, geolocation procedures, house rules & required procedures. That window closes November 2. Starting that day, all standard sports gaming employee applications must be submitted.
On Dec. 2, all equipment must be ready for Commission verification. Then Ohio sports betting will kick off on Jan. 1, in time for the end of the NFL season and more than half of the NBA and NHL seasons.
All Launch at the Same Time
Although the state’s existing gambling establishments probably could have launched sooner, the Ohio sports betting law ensured that all stakeholders, be they brick-and-mortar or mobile, launch at the same time.
“It’s going to be a very busy fall and winter both for the operators and the commission,” OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said Wednesday.
Now that a start date has been officially set, there may be more deals in the works between sports teams, sporting events and sportsbooks.
Ohio Sports Betting Partnerships
There have already been partnerships announced in Ohio. Here are some of them:
In April, the Cleveland Browns announced a long-term partnership deal with Bally’s Interactive, making Bally Bet an official sports betting partner of the team.
On March 16, betPARX partnered with Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, played in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, beginning Thursday. Unfortunately that’s too early for legal sports betting.
Caesars Sportsbook Ohio became an “Official Casino Partner” of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 24. It announced plans to open a year-round sportsbook in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.
On Feb. 22, Rush Street Interactive entered into a partnership with Penn National Gaming, owner of Ohio’s Hollywood casinos in Dayton, Columbus, Toledo and Austintown.
Fubo Gaming secured a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, announced Feb. 9, to make Fubo Sportsbook an Official Mobile Sports Betting Partner of the NBA franchise.
In January, Tipico announced a long-term partnership agreement with the Columbus Crew, making Tipico the official and exclusive sports betting partner of the MLS franchise.