Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard
Betting Commercial Content. 21+. Provided by Action Network, official betting partner of The Inquirer.

Ohio Sports Betting: Sportsbooks set to open for business on Jan. 1

More than two dozen operators will start taking wagers beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sunday

Beginning Sunday, Ohio sports fans will be able to legally bet on all of the state’s professional and major college teams. That includes Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have 20-to-1 odds to win this year’s NBA title. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Beginning Sunday, Ohio sports fans will be able to legally bet on all of the state’s professional and major college teams. That includes Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have 20-to-1 odds to win this year’s NBA title. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)Read moreJason Miller / Getty Images

For Ohio sports betting enthusiasts, the final days of 2022 have seemed like weeks. And as the clock approaches midnight on Saturday, the final minutes will seem like hours.

Eventually, though, the calendar will flip to 2023. When it does, the state’s new sportsbook operators will flip on their “Open for business” signs. With that — after years of negotiations, political posturing and fits and starts — sports betting finally will be legal in The Buckeye State.

In anticipation of the Jan. 1 launch — which was announced more than a year ago — millions of Ohioans long ago mapped out a game plan.

Some have downloaded apps from the mobile sportsbooks licensed to operate in Ohio. Some have plugged the addresses of the nearest brick-and-mortar sportsbooks into their favorite navigation app.

And still others have pulled out an old college notebook and logged the locations of the sports betting kiosks that will be permitted throughout the state.

But what if you’re an Ohio sports betting newbie who wants to get in on the action but aren’t sure where or even how to bet?

Here are some tips to get you started on what figures to be a fun — and hopefully profitable — endeavor.

Ohio sports betting: Here a sportsbook, there a sportsbook

When Ohio lawmakers finally agreed on a sports betting bill — one that makes the state the 32nd in the country (plus Washington, D.C.) to legalize the activity — they made sure the legislation was bettor-friendly.

That includes allowing sportsbook operators throughout the country to apply for up to 40 retail and 25 mobile sports betting licenses.

Many of those operators jumped at the opportunity to submit an application — including several of the biggest names in the sports betting game.

Among the sportsbooks that the state approved for conditional in-person and/or online licenses ahead of the Jan. 1 launch were BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers, bet365, Barstool and Betfred.

In all, the Ohio Casino Control Commission initially rubber-stamped conditional licenses for 22 retail and 22 online sportsbooks. Those licenses will convert from conditional to unrestricted at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, when the first legal Ohio sports bets can be placed.

However, not every sportsbook will be up and running out of the gate. Same goes for the more than 1,000 kiosk licenses that have been approved for various supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and taverns.

That said, many are slated to be live from the start. The list of mobile operators that will be ready to roll on Sunday morning include all the aforementioned books like BetMGM, FanDuel and Barstool.

Additionally, Ohio sports bettors will be able to place wagers at the Hollywood Casinos in both Toledo and Columbus, and at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Mahoning Valley. All four are operated by Barstool.

Additionally, FanDuel will be taking wagers at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, and BetMGM will be doing the same at Northfield Park near Cleveland. BetMGM also is scheduled to debut its brick-and-mortar outlet at Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bottom line: There will be no shortage of ways in which the Ohio sports betting community can place their action. But what can they wager on?

Pretty much anything.

Ohio sports betting: Place your bets

Ever been to a restaurant that hands you a menu that’s as heavy as a sack of bricks? That’s pretty much what the Ohio sports betting menu will be like.

Pro sports, college sports, international sports, player props, team props, in-game wagering — Ohio sportsbooks are allowed to offer all of that (and then some).

The only significant restrictions: You must be at least 21 years old and within the state’s borders to make a sports bet, and no wagering on high school or youth sports is allowed.

In other words, like most jurisdictions.

So where should the sports betting novice begin? Consider a modest wager on your favorite Ohio team to win a championship.

Unfortunately, if that team is the Ohio State Buckeyes and the sport is football, you can’t make such a bet ahead of Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal game against Georgia. That showdown in Atlanta kicks off mere hours before Ohio sports betting goes live.

However, you can grab the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl at +800 at BetMGM. Or take a shot with the Cleveland Cavaliers — who currently have the NBA’s seventh-best record — to win the title at +2000 (20-to-1) odds at FanDuel.

If you’re a baseball fan, you can head to Caesars Sportsbook and nab the Reds at +12500 (125-to-1) to shock MLB and win the National League. Or take +3500 (35-to-1) on the Cleveland Guardians to end their 74-year World Series drought.

Whatever you decide, if you’re new to sports betting, it’s important to dip your toe in the pool rather than dive head-first into the deep end.

Set aside an amount of money — known in sports betting parlance as a “bankroll” — that you’d be willing to lose. (After all, they call it sports “betting” and not sports “winning” for a reason.)

Then start by making small wagers from that amount, and track your performance.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to win more than you lose. But if you stay within your means, another goal will be achieved — one that will last as long as you choose to remain in the game: A lot of edge-of-your seat excitement.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.