Ohio ushers in New Year with legalized sports betting

Ohio's sports betting bill benefits more than just casinos
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:25 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Gamblers and sports fans in Ohio will be able to bet on sports starting Jan. 1, 2023. This will allow more businesses to offer more gambling in the state than in any other part of the country.

Apps, casinos, bars, grocery stores, and restaurants will have kiosks where gamblers can place their bets.

Kroger, Paycor Stadium, and Great American Ballpark are just some places in the Cincinnati area that will be participating.

The Reds and Bengals already have partnerships with sports betting companies.

The Bengals partnered with Betfred USA, the wholly owned US subsidiary of Betfred Group, a UK-based bookmaker, according to the Bengals press release.

Betfred operates in six states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Gamblers can place a bet on the Bengals from inside Paycore at a betting kiosk during Cincinnati’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 2.

The Reds partnered with BetMGM, one of the biggest names in sports betting.

The BetMGM Sportsbook will be located in the space now serving as the Machine Room restaurant on the northeast side of Great American Ball Park.

The sportsbook will only be accessible from outside the ticketed areas of the ballpark via the arena plaza-level entrance.

Sports gambling legal expert Daniel Wallach says that the teams have always kept their distance from sports betting. The teams have decided not only to accept it but then partner with sports betting companies.

“The teams now have no choice but to participate and actively lobby to be included in the sports wagering framework because it’s going to happen with or without them, it might as well happen with them, get some economic upside associated with it//there’s really no choice here,” Wallach said. “Once the United States Supreme Court rejected the league’s arguments in the Murphy v. NCAA case and invalidated the federal law which had prohibited state-authorized sports betting, the league’s had no choice here. Either get on the train, or it’s going to leave without you.”

No Casino? No problem.

What sets Ohio’s sports betting bill apart from other states is that it allows bars and restaurants to apply for an on-site kiosk.

One business taking advantage of the opportunity is Trillions Sports Bar in West Chester.

“I was hoping it would maybe generate more customers, more revenue,” explained Trillions Sports Bar Co-Owner Rick Maloney. “So, people go into casinos all the time. They have a place here in Westchester they can come and do sports gaming.”

Rick, along with his daughter, Erica Maloney, owns the West Chester sports bar.

They applied for a betting kiosk license the moment Ohio allowed applications - seeing it as an opportunity to build upon their clientele.

“With inflation, things have been tough,” says Erica. “So, that’s also a plus for being able to offer something like this because you know, it’s just a place close to home to also enjoy some of the other things that you would have maybe not been able to enjoy so close to home.”

Wallach thinks Ohio’s decision to allow bars and restaurants to have betting kiosks will help these small businesses.

“It will help save and allow these small businesses to prosper,” Wallach explains. “I mean, in the aftermath of COVID-19, I mean, one of the most, one of the hardest hit industries of all were hospitality establishments.”

Financial revenue

So, how big of a bet will Ohioans place on sporting events?

Here is a look at the handle, the amount of money wagered, in neighboring states during the month of October.

The total handle in Indiana in October was $446 million. In Michigan, the handle was just over $500 million.

But Indiana & Michigan do not offer the options like betting in bars and restaurants that Ohio will in placing a bet.

Illinois has a similar population size to Ohio.

In October, gamblers placed a whopping $840 million worth of bets.

“When you trickle that down or drill down on the expected revenues, the operator revenues could be in the neighborhood of, you know, six to $800 million annually in the states cut of that will likely be north of $50 million annually,” Wallach estimates. “And all those figures handled revenue, state tax collections are significantly higher than what the high Ohio legislative commission projected more than a year ago.”

Indiana’s sports betting created more than $4.4 million in taxes collected in October alone.

Wallach thinks Ohio will collect more than 10 times annually in taxes than compared to Indiana.

Ohio has had a year to prepare and is ready to ring the New Year in with a bet.

Where will the money go?

Ohio will have a 10% tax rate on sports betting, which is higher than Michigan and Indiana.

The taxable revenue will go toward several different initiatives like Ohio’s Sports Gaming Revenue Fund, additionally, tax revenue will benefit education in the state, as well as, youth sports programs.

Two percent will help with addiction and problem gambling.

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