Ohio Sports Betting Market Analysis

Ohio might have been late to the sports betting party, but it’s not about to miss out on the massive opportunities in the industry. The buckeye state legalized sports betting last December. However, the first sportsbook in the state won’t open up until later this year.

Ohio is one of the biggest markets for sports. It is home to the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. It also hosts two baseball teams: the Cleveland Guardians and the Cincinnati Reds.

Then there’s the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA and two MLS sides—the Columbus Crew and the FC Cincinnati. In light of that information, let’s analyze Ohio’s sports betting market.

Legality of Sports Betting

Ohio’s sports betting legalization path has been years in the making. Interesting, the main reason for disagreements among lawmakers isn’t whether they should legalize or ban sports betting.

The main issue all along was how to govern the industry once legalized. Some lawmakers were for the state lottery running the show. Others believed in a different body regulating the sector.

In the end, lawmakers chose the Ohio Casino Control Commission as the body to regulate and license sports betting in the state. Interested applicants will need to apply for licensing and agree to pay 10% of revenues as tax.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has until January 1st, 2023, to name sportsbooks approved to provide sports betting in the state. To be clear, the commission has the authority to license both in-person and mobile betting.

Discover: Is Sports Betting a Legitimate Full-Time Job?

Horse Race Betting in Ohio

The ongoing sports betting legalization process in Ohio will allow people to bet on Major League sports like football, baseball, and hockey. In the meantime, they can bet on horse racing through in-person and mobile sportsbooks.

Intriguingly, horse race betting has been legal in Ohio since the 1930s. Back then, it was the only sport you could bet on in most states. As such, it gained countrywide popularity until the start of this century.

In many US states, horse race betting is losing popularity to major sports. In Ohio, however, betting on thoroughbreds is still a popular pastime for thousands of sports fans.

Ohio permits pari-mutuel horse race betting at seven in-person racetracks. Although it doesn’t allow these racetracks to offer online betting, bettors from Ohio bet on horse racing online through out-of-state sportsbooks.

The best Ohio sports betting sites welcome punters with welcome bonuses worth up to $250. All you need is to register an account and make your first deposit. In turn, the bookmaker will match your deposit 100%.

A $12 Billion Market

One of the reasons Ohio is determined to introduce legal sports betting is the potential revenues the state could make. At the start of last year, some lawmakers noted the state could generate up to $3.3 billion from legal sports betting.

On the other hand, industry experts believe Ohio has a lot more potential and could generate as much as $12 billion from the industry. Now, $12 billion sounds like an over-ambitious figure.

However, New Jersey has been generating more than $5 billion from sports betting annually since it legalized the industry in 2018. The figure could have been a lot bigger were it not for the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ohio has a slightly bigger population than New Jersey: 11.69 million compared to 8.8 million. It’s also home to more Major League Sports brands, a big indicator of a state’s sports fanbase.

That said, a huge revenue doesn’t always translate to big tax revenues. But as mentioned, the Buckeye state hopes to tax 10% of every sportsbook’s revenue as tax. This could translate to more than $100M in annual taxes. Although impressive, it’s short of the $400M New Jersey generates per year.

Allowed Sports and Bet Types

Like many states in the country, Ohio has a list of approved and disallowed sports and bet types. Basically, the sports and bets a bookmaker can provide will depend on its license.

In Ohio, a Type A license will permit bookmakers to provide betting services online. The license will be offered to a maximum of 25 applicants. Type B licenses are reserved for in-person betting and will be given to 40 applicants. Note: applicants could also get a license that combines in-person and mobile betting.

The last type of license—Type C—will be offered to in-person liquor establishments and lottery retailers. Type C betting shops will also be limited on the bet types they can offer: money line, totals, spreads, and parlays.

With the Ohio Casino Control Commission permitted to license up to 80 sports betting operators, there’s no doubt sports betting will be big in the state. However, the commission doesn’t have to issue licenses to everyone, which could also limit the number of sportsbooks in the state.

A Huge Sports Fanbase

As we’ve mentioned, Ohio is home to millions of sports fans. The Buckeye state has a fanbase for just about any sport in the country. Let’s start with the Major League sports.

Football fans have the choice to support the Bengals or the Browns. Basketball fans have the Cavaliers while hockey fans can support the Blue Jackets. If you love soccer, there’s Columbus or you could support FC Cincinnati.

If you’re a baseball fan, you don’t have to support the Cincinnati Reds. You could support the Cleveland Guardians instead. Additionally, Ohio is big on college sports.

Thirteen colleges in Ohio participate in NCAA Division I sports. And you could bet on all these college games legally. For clarity, many states prohibit betting on in-state college games. However, Ohio has no such law.

The Major Leagues aside, Ohio has the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for NASCAR fans. Then there’s the Muirfield Village Golf Club inspired by Jack Nicklaus.


Many states began legislating sports betting immediately after the Supreme Court struck off PASPA Act in 2018. But for Ohio, it took three years for lawmakers to agree on how to legalize sports betting.

By the end of this year, Ohio will be home to dozens of in-person and mobile sportsbooks. This could be a game-changer for the Buckeye state in regards to job creation, taxes and revenues.