Ohio Sports Betting Legislation Approved - Wagering Starts January 1, 2023

Fun times await for Ohio sports bettors. This has all the makings of the biggest and best sports betting legalization rollout yet.

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Bridget Houlihan


Jan 21, 2021

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The legalized sports betting countdown is on in Ohio. As of 12:01 AM on January 1st, Buckeye state residents aged 21 or over can sign up at a sportsbook and start placing wagers from anywhere within the state borders.

It has been a long time coming for Ohio sports bettors, as legalization took place in December of 2021. Nevertheless, the waiting is nearly over. In this article, we detail what is available for Ohio sports bettors now that legislation is approved and sports betting is set to begin in Ohio.

Sportsbooks and Casinos

Ohio opens up with three tops of sports betting licenses for sportsbooks and retail establishments. Type A licenses are required for online betting and the state will allocate 25 of them. They all must affiliate with a physical retail operator within the state. Those operators must in turn receive a Type B license. There will be 50 Type B licenses available, and the list of players there includes casinos, racetracks, stadiums, arenas and teams themselves. Here is a rundown of the conditionally approved sportsbooks, as well as their in state retail partners.

  • *Barstool: Hollywood Casino Columbus
  • Bet365: Cleveland Guardians
  • Betfred: Cincinnati Bengals
  • BetMGM: MGM Northfield Park
  • BetPARX:Muirfield Village Golf Course
  • BetRivers: Hollywood Casino Columbus
  • Caesars: Scioto Downs
  • DraftKings: Hollywood Casino Toledo
  • Fanatics: Columbus Blue Jackets
  • FanDuel: Belterra Park
  • Hard Rock: Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
  • Instabet/Betr: Pro Football Hall of Fame Village
  • PointsBet: Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley
  • Superbook: FC Cincinnati
  • Tipico: Columbus Crew

Barstool might be fined and/or delayed as they are alleged to have marketed towards college campuses and the under 21 set.

Ohio will also issue Type C licenses for bars, restaurants and other establishments to operate sports betting kiosks. All told Ohio might have the biggest and broadest sports betting rollout of any state. License fees alone are projected to add $10 million to the state coffers in 2023 and Ohio projects $3.35 billion in sportsbook revenue in the first few years after legalization. The state will tax the books at 10%, which is on the low end vs other states but still add up well for the bottom line given the huge rollout. On an individual basis, Ohio residents report gambling winnings as “Other Income” which gets taxed at the same rate as regular income.

What should Ohio residents expect thanks to all this competition? Here is some of what Buckeye sports bettors can look forward to in 2023

Generous Welcome Bonuses

Every sportsbook wants to bring in new customers and as such they offer attractive bonuses for new players to sign up and start wagering. Most books now offer first bet free bet insurance like the BetMGM inducement mentioned above. Caesars goes up to $1250, while FanDuel has a “No Sweat First Bet” up to $1000. This is the general range right now. The concept is the same everywhere. Win the first bet, keep the money. Lose the first bet and replenish with like dollar value in free bets. Books do vary in how long the player has to use the free bets, whether they get allocated immediately or in tranches and whether there is a rollover requirement before players can withdraw money.

Bettors can sign up and register now at several sportsbooks, including BetMGM. Take advantage of a bonus code on BetMGM Ohio here to lock in their welcome bonus. BetMGM provides free bet insurance of up to $1000 on the first bet. Just sign up, fund the account, and place a first wager of up to $1000. If the bet wins, just cash the proceeds! If the wager loses, BetMGM hands out a credit in risk free bets in the amount of the original wager up to $1000. 

Some sportsbooks also have a parallel $200 free bet that players get instead of the free bet insurance. The specifics matter, thus sometimes just getting the $200 free bet works better, especially since it doesn’t require actually putting up the $1000 to begin with.

Odds Boosts

While the sportsbooks want to get customers in the door with welcome bonuses, they also want to keep everyone wagering. Enter odds boosts, also branded as “reduced juice”. Players can find some of these every day, usually under “promos” tabs or even just blasted out right at sign in. Many odds boosts are on pre-packaged parlays that the books build themselves, so players might see something like “20% boost on Bengals to win, Nick Chubb to rush for over 70 yards and Donovan Mitchell to score over 20 points”. Often though the boost is on a parlay that players can build themselves, with conditions such as a minimum number of legs and maximum odds or dollars played.

Referral Bonuses

The sportsbooks do not just want your business, they want your friends to deposit and wager as well. Many offer free bet bonuses in the $100 for referrals that lead to new funded accounts. The new signup might get a free bet bonus as well. Taking advantage of these usually simply entails copying a unique code provided by the book and then passing it on to the prospective new customer.

Better Odds

The sportsbooks do not compete much on the spreads of the odds they post. On a standard even-odds sports bet, such as an NFL point spread, the books all default to -110 pricing. That means bettors need to risk $110 to win $100. That does not mean the books all have the exact same odds though. One house might post Bengals -3 vs the Patriots with the standard -110, while another might see their action tilt too heavily to the Bengals and hang -115 on Cincy and -105 on New England. Yet another might have Bengals -3.5 but -105 or +100. 

On other type bets, the books do have more variable spread widths. In futures markets for example, the vig or juice is referred to as the “hold”. If you add up all the odds on the board, the hold is the difference between the total payout and what the book takes in. 

The more books out there, the more chance to find the best spread on a regular bet and the lowest hold on a futures type bet. That all really adds up over time.

Fun times await for Ohio sports bettors. This has all the makings of the biggest and best sports betting legalization rollout yet.

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July 29, 2022
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