Another neighbor has joined the party. Ohio launched legalized sports betting on Jan. 1, bringing the nationwide total to 32 states that have sanctioned sports betting regulations. The Pennsylvania sports betting market went live in November 2018.
PA’s surrounding neighbors have now all embraced sports betting. In the northeast US, Vermont is the only state remaining that has yet to legalize betting or at least have active legislation regarding the topic.
Let’s take a closer look at Ohio’s new sports betting market and how it compares with the Keystone State.
Ohio sports betting launches with lots of notable operators
Ohio’s launch looks drastically different than Pennsylvania’s. In Pennsylvania, the first retail sportsbooks began taking bets in November 2018 and the first online sportsbooks launched in May 2019.
More than three years later, there are only 14 total sports betting apps available in Pennsylvania, all of which are tied to a brick-and-mortar location. Four other retail locations (Live Pittsburgh, South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook, Downs at Lehigh Valley, Parx Malvern) do not have a corresponding online app.
Pennsylvania’s current sportsbook apps include (in order of debut):
- FOX Bet
Meanwhile in Ohio, there are 16 betting apps available at launch:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Betfred Sports
- Hard Rock Digital
A number of other apps have yet to reveal their full plans, but are expected to enter Ohio soon. Those include:
- Bally Bet
- Out The Gate
Within a few years, Ohio’s total sports betting apps could reach a much larger number. The state can potentially license more than 40 overall, but anything more than 25 requires specific OCCC approval.
In addition to those betting apps, 12 retail sportsbooks are now spread across the state at Ohio’s casinos, racinos, sports stadiums and other locations.
House Bill 29 paved the way for legalized Ohio sports betting
Ohio’s sports betting law (House Bill 29), which legalized sports betting starting on Jan. 1, provides for three different types of betting licenses and will provide broad access to sports betting.
Twenty-five type A licenses are available for all of Ohio’s casinos and sports teams, which will allow them to partner with a mobile operator (or two) to provide online betting.
Meanwhile, 40 type B licenses are available for those interested in operating a brick-and-mortar (or retail) sportsbook.
Lastly, type C licenses are also available for those who possess a liquor license and are interested in operating a betting kiosk. It is estimated that 771 betting kiosks would be available across the state upon launch.
In Ohio, sportsbooks will be taxed at a 10% rate. This is a much more business-friendly rate compared to Pennsylvania, which imposes a 36% tax on sports betting revenue.
According to previous reports, 98% of the tax revenue from sports betting in Ohio will be placed in the newly-formed Sports Gaming Profits Education Fund (SGPEF).
The SGPEF will benefit both public and private schools in Ohio. Another 2% will go to a fund for problem sports gaming. As for the SGPEF, the Ohio General Assembly can decide how to allocate the money, but 50% must be used on extracurricular activities.
Differences between the Ohio and PA sports betting markets
Betting in Ohio and Pennsylvania will have a lot of similarities, but there are a few notable differences, as well. Both states allow betting on all major professional sports, with Ohio approving bets on what is estimated to be 95% of all sports leagues. Table tennis is a notable one that was not included.
Both states also limit wagering to action that occurs in a competitive format, making the National Anthem over/under, the color of Gatorade dumped on a winning coach and other popular Super Bowl prop bets off limits.
However, for the time being, Ohio has approved player props for college athletes, whereas Pennsylvania has prohibited those. Ohio State University has already requested a change to that policy, so it may not last forever.
Will Ohio sports betting affect Pennsylvania?
With Ohio’s sports betting launch rolling out in a much more rapid fashion, will it have much impact on Pennsylvania?
That answer won’t be completely clear for a few months, but logic would suggest Pennsylvania’s betting revenue will stay on track. According to PlayPennsylvania, PA sportsbooks topped $789.2 million in betting handle in November 2022. Total revenue hit $70.0 million.
Perhaps some Ohio players will no longer cross the border for betting, but Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry seems stable enough.
And with Ohio becoming the 32nd state to offer sports betting, the momentum continues to grow for nationwide expansion. In fact, as evidenced by this map by the American Gaming Association, there are only a few remaining regions where sports betting is not legal. That likely won’t last forever.