Ohio Already Reaping Millions from Sports Gambling

by Lawrence Wilson


Sports betting will open in Ohio on Jan. 1, and the state could realize revenues of more than $30 million from fees this year.

Nonrefundable application fees of $9.6 million have already been received according to a report from PlayOhio. Once an application is approved, the vendor must pay a license fee to begin taking bets, then pay an annual fee to continue the license. Licenses are good for five years, at which time the fee structure begins again.

Annual license fees could total $5 million, with expected tax revenues of $50 million, PlayOhio estimates.

Fees vary by license type.

A class A gaming license permits the holder to offer online wagering. Initial license fees range from $500,000 to $2.5 million, depending on the type of business. Annual fees range from $125,000 to $625,000 with renewal fees of up to $750,000 after five years.

The initial number of Class A licenses is limited to 25. To qualify, the vendor must either hold a Class B license or have a place of business in Ohio with multiple employees.

A Class B gaming license is for in-person betting. The initial license fee is either $50,000 or $100,000 depending on whether the vendor also holds a Class A license. Annual fees are $10,000. The five-year renewal fees are the same as the initial fees.

The number of Class B licenses is initially limited to 40.

Class C licenses are for facilities hosting gaming kiosks, such as bars and restaurants. So far more than 1,300 vendors have paid the $1,000 application fee for a Class C license. The license fee is $25,000, renewable after five years with no annual fees in the meantime.

Class C licensees must also have a liquor license.

The C licensees receive a commission on the state’s proceeds from the sports gaming. Vendors can install two kiosks per location, or more than two with approval from the Gaming Commission. Type C licensees must also hold a liquor license.

Gaming revenues are taxed at the rate of 10% by the state. Of the amount received, 98% is designated for public and private schools and the remainder used to fund problem-gambling programs.

Sports betting was approved by a wide margin in both houses of the Ohio Legislature in December 2021. The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced in June that the betting market would open on Jan. 1.

Casino gambling in Ohio has been legal since 2009. Currently, 11 casinos and racinos are operated in the state, generating revenues of $2.3 billion in 2021 according to published reports.

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Lawrence Wilson is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Sports Gambling” by Bruce Turner. CC BY 2.0.




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