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Ohio Regulators Begin Sorting Through Sports Betting Applications

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Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: An Ohio state flag at an Ohio State vs. Michigan college football game.

Ohio regulators have started sorting through dozens of applications for sports betting licenses, they announced during a bi-weekly meeting.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission’s Wednesday meeting, was the first time regulators spoke publicly since a deadline passed for sports teams, casinos and their commercial partners to apply for their own sportsbook license.

Under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in 2021, sports betting must start by Jan. 1, 2023.

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Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, acknowledged Ohioans are eager to hear which apps are officially coming to their state, but indicated news will be slow in the coming weeks.

“Folks in the media have said, ‘How quick you going to turn them around?'” Schuler said. “This isn’t like a driver’s license — its a little more complicated.”

Schuler went on to list a myriad of factors his commission will consider as it reviews applications:

  • The nature of an applicant’s physical presence in Ohio, including any expenditures on physical infrastructure
  • How long the applicant has been doing business in Ohio
  • How much an applicant pays its employees
  • The economic benefit an applicant provides to Ohio, including promoting tourism

“It seems folks think if they submitted an application, they have a right to a license without understanding the general assembly had a lot to say about the privilege of a license,” Schuler said. “There’s no rubber stamp at the commission. We will absolutely look at the reputation, experience, financial integrity of each applicant.”

Jessica Franks, the commission’s Director of Communications, previously told Action Network that approvals may be announced at commission meetings. Their next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3.

The commission will also update its list of application statuses every Friday, Schuler added.

A top lobbyist for one of those applicants, DraftKings, was in attendance during the meeting. They’ve partnered with a casino in Toledo to run an online sportsbook, pending approval.

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