Ohio’s Sports Betting Market to Allow Bets on College Games

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Ohio sports betting will include major college-level sports when the state’s market opens. This was the announcement made Wednesday by the head of the state agency that is responsible for overseeing the new industry.

Ohio Embraces College Sports Betting

Matt Schuler, executive director of the Casino Control Commission (CCC), which will oversee the activity, stated that the General Assembly did not exempt college athletics from sports betting. Schuler stated, “That’s the big question: Will people be able to bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes? Yes, they will.”

The Ohio sports betting bill was passed by the Ohio Legislature last Wednesday and is currently with Governor Mike DeWine. He has indicated that he will sign the bill, possibly before the weekends.

The CCC will issue three types of licenses. These licenses cover mobile betting, such as via a smartphone app, gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos or racinos, professional sports teams and events, and bars and restaurants that have self-service gaming kiosks.

The following are eligible for betting: Ohio’s professional and motorsports, Olympic events, motorsports, professional golf, tennis, and major college sports like football and basketball. However, the CCC will make the final determinations.

Sports betting in the state is expected to start no later than January 1, 2023. Sports betting operators will have to pay a 10% tax on their proceeds. Ohio’s legislation currently would require them to make their payments daily, not monthly, although this could change. The money will go to K-12 schools in the state.

Some Schools Not Onboard

Some Ohio universities have raised concerns for years about the effects of sports betting on college athletics.

This past March, appearing before Congress, the Inter-University Council of Ohio’s Bruce Johnson asserted, “If wagering on collegiate sports is permitted, it would not take a great leap of logic to conclude the risk of student-athletes soliciting and accepting payments to influence the outcome of games may increase.”

His remarks are not supported by research, however. States that have made this argument have not been able to produce evidence that this would be the case. Some could argue that the opposite will happen, with legal sports betting helping uncover any possible problems. In addition, legalized college-level sports betting will work well with NIL (name, image, and likeness) programs, which would be more lucrative than throwing a game.

Schuler stated that the most popular sports betting will be on traditional sports such as March Madness basketball or the Super Bowl. These are the best money-makers for sportsbooks.

Unless significant objections are raised, the default position of the commission will be to include collegiate athletics.

The CCC boss added that if the commission is faced with a situation where it is necessary for integrity or managing risk, the commission will consider it and take all the necessary steps to make it happen.

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