How Will Ohio’s Sports Betting Launch Impact Pennsylvania?

Written By Nathan Frederick on June 22, 2022
Pennsylvania welcomes Ohio sports betting

Game on. Pretty soon, another Pennsylvania neighbor will embrace legal sports betting.

Ohio’s Casino Control Commission recently began accepting operator applications for the state’s sports betting industry, which is scheduled to go live in January 2023. BetMGM and PointsBet were the first two to apply.

A second application window will open between July 15 and August 15. During that window, casinos and sports teams can offer mobile operators an additional license. In order for those to be approved, the licenses must show a positive economic impact for the state. Lottery retailers that want to offer sports betting may also apply at that time.

Just how Ohio’s launch will impact the PA sports betting market remains to be seen, but we can venture some guesses.

So what does all this mean for Pennsylvania?

All of the Keystone State’s neighbors have now approved sports betting.

New Jersey was a leader in America’s sports betting scene, launching both retail and online betting in the summer of 2018.

Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in October of 2017, but didn’t begin its retail (November 2018) and mobile betting (May 2019) until a little bit later.

Once Ohio enters the fray in 2023, the entire region will have approved sports betting.

Other surrounding states:

  • West Virginia approved betting in 2018.
  • New York launched land-based services in 2019 and mobile betting in 2022.
  • Maryland launched retail betting last December.

For a nationwide view of sports betting, check out this map from the American Gaming Association.

PA sportsbooks shouldn’t expect much of a hit

Ohio’s sports betting should not have a drastic impact on the gaming numbers in Pennsylvania.

There are only two retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania fairly close to the Ohio border:

  • Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at the Meadows in Washington
  • TwinSpires Sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie

Neither of those books should be greatly impacted by Ohio’s sports betting legislation.

Handle in May 2022:

  • Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood/Meadows: $1.3 million (3.7% of PA retail SB revenue)
  • Twinspires Sportsbook at Presque Isle: $2.2 million (6.1% of PA retail SB revenue)

Meanwhile, around 93% of sports bets in PA are placed online at one of the state’s 14 sports betting apps.

Just how many Eastern Ohioans are making their way into PA to place bets is unclear, but losing that business is unlikely to move the needle much for Pennsylvania. After all, if New York’s massive sports betting industry hasn’t hurt PA, Ohio’s launch is unlikely to do so.

Ohio travel plans may become more appealing

One thing that will change is Pennsylvania residents will soon gain increased access to sports betting once they cross the state’s borders.

It is expected that Ohio sports betting law will lead to sportsbooks at a number of the stadiums and venues that might attract visiting PA residents.

The Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Columbus Blue Jackets and some of the state’s other pro sports teams were vocal proponents of sports betting, so it is almost certain that they will be among the entities applying for a license. Several teams have already established partnerships with gaming companies in advance of the sports betting launch.

Some partnerships that have already been reached include:

  • Cleveland Browns – Bally Bet
  • Cleveland Cavaliers – Fubo Gaming
  • Columbus Crew – Tipico

Ohio sports betting operators will need one of three licenses

Under Ohio’s legal framework, the state will allow for three different licenses related to sports betting.

  • Type A licenses are for online or mobile betting.
  • Type B licenses are for brick-and-mortar locations, such as casino or stadium sportsbooks.
  • Finally, the Type C license will be for lottery-style sports betting kiosks, which can be added to establishments that already have a liquor permit.

Some big sportsbook names will likely appear on Ohio’s list

The applicants for Ohio sports betting are already pouring in. And with reasonable application fees (physical brick-and mortar sportsbooks can apply for $20,000), it is likely that Ohio will launch with a robust sports betting scene.

In fact, according to a recent tweet, Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler said that he expects Ohio’s launch to be the “largest ever simultaneous launch of sports betting in the United States.” Ohio sports betting regulations allow for up to 46 online sportsbooks.

Although Ohio is getting a relatively late start in sports betting, the state hopes to make up for lost time.

PA sports betting will be just fine

However, that new market shouldn’t drastically impact the economics of Pennsylvania gaming. Pennsylvania has already exceeded a billion dollars in sports betting revenue since 2018, behind only New Jersey and Nevada.

Pennsylvania sports betting revenue totals have remained high, even with other border states including New York adding sports betting in recent years.

But the gaming legislation in Ohio will certainly create some additional momentum for sports betting, which is now legal in 30 states and Washington D.C.

A few other states (including California) have also already introduced sports betting legislation, so the dominoes are expected to continue to fall.

Will sports betting stretch from sea to shining sea?

The movement keeps growing. At this point, it’s not hard to envision a fully-regulated sports betting future that goes coast-to-coast.

Pennsylvania was a trendsetter. Ohio is next.

And others will be arriving soon.

Game on.

Lead image via Shutterstock.

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Nathan Frederick

Nathan Frederick is an award-winning writer with more than 1,000 published bylines and two decades of journalism experience. His work has won awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Keystone Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has also authored three books, one of which debuted as an Amazon No. 1 New Release.

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