Sports Gaming FAQs

General Questions

Q: What is the status of sports gaming in Ohio?

A: Sports gaming is illegal under R.C. Chapter 2915. HB 29 passed the Legislature on December 8, 2021, and was signed by the Governor on December 22, 2021. While HB 29 became effective on March 23, 2022, the bill only legalizes sports gaming when conducted under a license issued by the Commission and pursuant to the Commission’s rules. As part of HB 29, the Ohio Lottery Commission will also be conducting a sports gaming lottery at certain liquor permit establishments. For more information on HB 29, please click here.

Q: What is the process for the Commission to adopt rules Ohio?

A: Now that HB 29 has passed the Legislature and been signed by the Governor, the Commission is hard at work on creating the rules, forms, processes, and systems necessary to implement sports betting ahead of the universal start date. To adopt the rules under which sports gaming will be operating, the Commission must follow certain statutory requirements, including filing the rules with the state’s Common Sense Initiative (“CSI”) and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, as well as considering the rules at public Commission meetings. In all, this process often takes 5-6 months from the time in which rules are filed with the CSI, but timetables vary, and there is no limit to how long that process can take. For a more detailed overview of the rulemaking process, as well as sports gaming in general, please see the Commission’s December 15, 2021 presentation.

Q: When will legal sports gaming be coming to Ohio?

A: HB 29 sets January 1, 2023, as the date by which sports gaming must be approved to begin and requires that all forms of sports gaming be allowed to start accepting wagers on the same date.

Q: How do I obtain more information on Ohio sports gaming?

A: Please visit the Commission’s sports gaming webpage. All draft regulations, applications, and other general information will be posted on the webpage. If you would like to receive email updates from the Commission on sports gaming regulations, you may join our sports gaming mailing list.

Q: When will the Commission release all its sports gaming rules?

A: The Commission plans to have five batches of sports gaming rules for initial implementation. The most current versions of all rules are available at the bottom of the Commission’s sports gaming webpage. As of March 7, 2022, the Commission has sent out all rules it plans to adopt for the initial implementation of sports gaming. No other rules will be adopted unless necessary to comply with statute or remediate immediate integrity issues. For the most up-to-date status on these rules, please see the Commission’s sports gaming rule implementation update chart. This chart is updated after each Commission meeting.

Universal Start Date

Q: Has the Commission set the Universal Start Date for sports gaming?

A: No. The Commission has not set the Universal Start Date. When the Commission makes an announcement, it will be shared in writing with all stakeholders at the same time via the sports gaming listserv and posted to the Commission’s website.

Q: When will the universal start date be?

The Universal Start Date is still to be determined. As stated by the Executive Director at the May 18 Commission meeting, the Universal Start Date will be announced at the Commission’s June 1 meeting and is likely to be close to, if not exactly on, January 1, 2023. Ohio is undertaking the largest gaming expansion in its history and largest ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the United States, with all eligible online applications, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and kiosks in bars and taverns eligible to start on the exact same date. If industry estimates are to be believed, this will necessitate detailed due diligence investigations and ensure compliance requirements of approximately 3,000 applications in time for the Universal Start Date.

Q: Will the Universal Start Date be in time for the kickoff of the NFL season or the MLB World Series?

No. Given the intricacies of the rule making process in Ohio and the number of licenses and investigations that the Commission must issue or undertake, the Universal Start Date is likely to be close to, if not exactly on, January 1, 2023.

Advertising, Marketing and User Recruitment

For purposes of the advertising, marketing, and user recruitment FAQs, the term advertisement means: a notice, announcement, or communication to the public, or any specific member(s) thereof, designed to solicit or entice a person to participate in a specific entity’s sports gaming offerings through broadcasting, publication, or any other means of dissemination.

Q: Can I engage in advertising and marketing before receiving any required license from the Commission?

The Commission is aware that sports gaming advertising and marketing has been present in Ohio for some time through multi-jurisdictional advertisements of online sports gaming and does not plan to prohibit either multi-jurisdictional or Ohio-specific marketing. That being said, HB 29, specifically R.C. 3775.02(B)(10), requires that sports gaming advertisements should:

  • clearly convey all conditions;
  • disclose the identity of the proprietor, mobile management services provider, or management services provider, as applicable;
  • not target certain individuals;
  • include problem gambling messaging and resources; and
  • not be false, misleading, or deceptive.

As such, sports gaming advertisements in Ohio should begin to meet these standards, if they do not already. Although these standards won’t formally be in place until the Commission’s advertising rule is adopted, the Commission expects these industry-standard requirements will be met as soon as possible. The Commission may consider a proprietor’s or services provider’s adherence to these standards in determining an entity’s suitability for licensure, in particular their reputation, experience, and integrity.

Q: Can I engage in user recruitment before receiving any required license from the Commission?

User recruitment, or signing Ohio users up for sports gaming accounts or alerts as to when they may create one, may also occur ahead of Ohio’s sports gaming launch, so long as no individuals are allowed to place bets within the state. User recruitment efforts should meet the advertising standards laid out above. As part of ensuring user recruitment does not target individuals with a gambling problem, any recruited user must be given the opportunity to unsubscribe or cancel any account created, including providing the user with the ability to voluntarily restrict themselves from further creating any accounts or knowingly being subjected to any further recruitment. Once sports gaming is live, any accounts created must also meet all account creation standards under any relevant Commission rules before the account is allowed to place any bets or wagers, including a check against the sports gaming voluntary exclusion program. Finally, if an entity is ultimately denied a license, withdraws from consideration, or ultimately decides not to pursue licensure, all recruited users must be notified that the entity will not offer sports gaming in the immediate future, including allowing all users to unsubscribe or cancel any accounts.

Q: Must an advertisement state the name of both the sports gaming proprietor and the services provider?

No. Only the name of the entity directly offering or planning to directly offer sports gaming to Ohioans needs to be disclosed.

Q: What responsible gambling messaging should be included in sports gaming advertisements appearing in Ohio?

Sports gaming advertising and marketing appearing in Ohio should contain either the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-589-9966 or the National Council on Problem Gambling’s Helpline (NCPG): 1-800-522-4700. Please note that either helpline is acceptable, and the Commission expects greater usage of the NCPG helpline, as it recognizes the multijurisdictional realities in sports gaming advertising. In either case, the number should be conspicuous and be clearly denoted as a resource for those needing assistance with problem gambling.

Please note that if you are struggling with issues related to problem gambling, either number above can provide assistance and can route you to local resources. More information on Ohio’s problem gambling resources can be found here.

Q: I am an affiliate marketer. Am I required to obtain a license to engage in sports gaming advertising?

While the Commission cannot formally answer this question until the relevant rules at issue (e.g. supplier licensing, advertising, etc.) are finalized, Commission staff is not planning to advance rules that would require licensure for affiliate marketers. However, an entity marketing on behalf of a sports gaming proprietor or services provider must adhere to the Commission’s most current advertising standards, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Failure of any affiliate marketer to do so may be held against the proprietor or services provider, as applicable, and may result in the Commission seeking a termination of any contractual relationship for Ohio.

Applications

Q: When can I apply for a sports gaming license?

A: The Commission will begin accepting applications for Type-A, -B, & -C proprietors, first designated MMSPs, MSPs, suppliers on June 15, 2022.

The Commission will begin accepting applications for Type-C sports gaming hosts and second designated MMSPs on July 15, 2022.

Q: When do my employees need to submit key sports gaming employee or standard sports gaming employee applications?

A:  The Commission will begin accepting key and standard sports gaming employee applications on June 15, 2022. Key sports gaming employee applications should be submitted as soon as possible once the business entity applies. Commission staff will work with each entity applicant to determine appropriate deadlines for the submission of key sports gaming employee applications. Standard sports gaming employee applications must be submitted no later than 60 days prior to the universal start date.

Q: When will final versions of applications be available?  Will it be before the Commission accepts applications?

A: Final versions of applications, except for the Type-C sports gaming host, will be made available on June 1, 2022. The applications will be in PDF fillable format. Type-C sports gaming host applications will be made available on July 15, 2022, through the State of Ohio licensing website at www.elicense.ohio.gov.

Q: Is there a deadline to submit my application in order to start sports gaming by the universal start date?

A:  Yes, HB 29 requires the Commission to establish application deadlines to enable consideration of the application prior to the universal start date.  In compliance with HB 29, the Commission has set the application deadline for Type-A, -B, & -C proprietors, first designated MMSPs, MSPs, and suppliers on July 15, 2022.  The application deadline for Type-C sports gaming hosts and second designated MMSPs is August 15, 2022.

Q: Will the Commission accept applications after the universal start date application deadline?

A:  Yes. The Commission will continue to accept sports gaming applications; however, any application received after the deadline is not guaranteed consideration in time to start on the universal start date.

Q: Can I submit a placeholder application by the universal start date application deadline and then update the information later?

The Commission does not accept placeholder applications. However, the Commission may allow an applicant time to correct minor deficiencies. Failure to respond to Commission staff inquiries or supply required information by the deadline given when requesting the additional information may result in your application not being considered in time for the universal start date.

Q: I am an owner, board member, executive or otherwise an individual in control of an applicant. What information must I submit to the Commission?

A: Pursuant to R.C. 3775.03 and Ohio Adm.Code 3775-4-01 the Commission must determine that persons in control of an applicant meet the qualifications for sports gaming under R.C. 3775 and the rules adopted thereunder before issuing any license to the applicant. While the Commission is unable to give an exhaustive list of what individuals may be in control of an applicant until organizational and ownership charts are submitted, certain individuals will almost certainly fall into that category and should be submitted to the Commission for consideration as soon as possible. Please note that this requirement does not apply to Type-C gaming hosts or appointing professional sports organizations.

As such, any individual (or natural person) who is a majority owner, board member, C-level executive having the ability to exercise significant influence over the applicant’s sports gaming business, the equivalent of any of the preceding, or any other person the Commission identifies must submit and obtain a key sports gaming employee license prior to any applicant they control being issued a license. This includes the submission of a key sports gaming employee application and fingerprints. Please see below for an FAQ on how fingerprints may be submitted.

Further questions on the scope of persons in control or key employees should be submitted to: sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.  

Q: I am a holding company or otherwise a business entity in control of an applicant. What information must I submit to the Commission?

A: Pursuant to R.C. 3775.03 and Ohio Adm.Code 3775-4-01 the Commission must determine that persons in control of an applicant meet the qualifications for sports gaming under R.C. 3775 and the rules adopted thereunder before issuing any license to the applicant. While the Commission is unable to give an exhaustive list of what business entities may be in control of an applicant until organizational and ownership charts are submitted, certain business entities will almost certainly fall into that category and should be submitted to the Commission for consideration as soon as possible. Please note that this requirement does not apply to Type-C gaming hosts or appointing professional sports organizations.

Any business entity who is a majority owner, board member, C-level executive having the ability to exercise significant influence over the applicant’s sports gaming business, the equivalent of any of the preceding, or any other business entity the Commission identifies must submit the Sports Gaming Holding Company Form and be found qualified prior to any applicant they control being issued a license. Finalized forms will be available on June 1.

Further questions on the scope of persons in control or holding companies should be submitted to: sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.

Q: I am a key or standard sports gaming employee. How do I submit fingerprints to the Commission?

A: Ohio law requires that applicants for a sports gaming license and any individuals in control of the applicant submit fingerprints to the Commission for the purposes of completing a criminal records check. R.C. 3775.03. To request blank fingerprint cards, please contact the Licensing & Investigations Division at 614-387-5688 or sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov. Instructions on how to submit completed fingerprint cards to the Commission are available here. The Identity Confirmation Form referenced in the instructions is available hereCards can be requested for any individual seeking a standard or key sports gaming employee license, whether located inside or outside of the state. Commission staff will begin processing these requests immediately upon receipt.  

Later this year, the Commission anticipates hosting in-state fingerprinting events and opening office hours across the state to obtain fingerprints for additional sports gaming employee applicants. The Commission will share greater information on in-state events and office hours in the fall. Please note that the Commission will not be accepting “webcheck” criminal records checks obtained via third parties.

The total fee for the criminal records checks is $47.25 per individual and should be submitted with the respective employee application fee. Please try to combine payments as much as possible (i.e., payments for multiple applicants in one payment transaction).

Q: I may need a standard sports gaming employee license. How do I know for sure?

A: Please note that the Commission cannot give you legal advice and that each person is responsible for obtaining the licenses necessary to engage in sports gaming. That being said, the Commission does plan on issuing further guidance on standard sports gaming employee licensure beyond the guidance available in R.C. 3775.06(A)(1). However, at this time, the Commission asks that all business entities focus on working with their key employees, as described above, to obtain their licensure. This is because those investigations are more time-intensive, and as stated above, the Commission cannot statutorily issue any licenses to applicants unless all persons in control of that applicant have been found eligible, qualified, and suitable. As such, the Commission is focusing on key employee applicants at this time and will provide more detailed guidance on standard sports gaming employees in the coming weeks.

Q: Who is the appropriate applicant for a sports gaming license? Who must satisfy the criteria for licensure?

The appropriate applicant for a sports gaming license is the person who will be directly conducting the activity subject to licensure. That applicant must satisfy all qualifications for licensure itself, including eligibility, suitability, and economic development.

Q: I plan to apply as both a Type-A and Type-B Sports Gaming Proprietor. May I submit one application to do so?

A: Yes. You may combine your submissions into one Type-A and -B Sports Gaming Proprietor Application. The Commission combined the applications for that reason. Please ensure that if you are using one application to apply, you pay the fee required for both application types and provide all information for both application types.

Q: I plan on applying for a Type-B Sports Gaming Proprietor license. Where can I locate my sports gaming facility?

A: Pursuant to R.C. 3775.04(B), the number and locations of sports gaming facilities are limited by county, pursuant to that county’s 2010 population figures. You may find this map helpful in reviewing this requirement. Additionally, that provision requires applicants to locate their sports gaming facility in a county in which the applicant, itself, conducts significant economic activity.

Q: I plan to apply as both a Mobile Management Services Provider and Management Services Provider. May I submit one application to do so?

A: Yes. You may combine your submissions into one Mobile Management Services Provider and Management Services Provider Application. The Commission combined the applications for that reason. Please ensure that if you are using one application to apply, you pay the fee required for both application types and provide all information for both application types.

Q: How do I submit my application to the Commission?

A: All applications, except for a Type-C sports gaming host, must be filed electronically with the Commission, including via email to sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov, via a physical media drive (e.g., CD, thumb drive) mailed to the Commission’s office at 100 E. Broad Street, 20th Floor Columbus, Ohio, 43215, or via secure online drop box, as approved by the Executive Director. A Type-C sports gaming host must submit their application through the State of Ohio licensing website at www.elicense.ohio.gov.

Compliance

Q: When and how can I submit responsible gaming plans, facility plans, geolocation procedures, house rules and required procedures?

A: The submission window for these items will open August 1, 2022. Final, completed versions of these items must be submitted no later than 60 days prior to the universal start date for applicants looking to start by that date. The Commission will not accept placeholder submissions. Submissions that are still deficient by the deadline may result in the applicant not being approved in time for the universal start date. All items must be approved by the Commission prior to the commencement of sports gaming.  

Submissions will be made via the Commission’s sports gaming proprietor website. This website will be made available to stakeholders on or ahead of August 1, 2022. Once it is available, the Commission will notify applicants.

Q: What information should be submitted for facility plans, geolocation procedures, house rules, and required procedures? 

A: Only information required by the Commission’s sports gaming rules and information specifically required by the executive director may be submitted for facility plans, geolocation procedures, house rules, and required procedures. The Commission will provide a template that will specify the required information. This template must be used for submitting this information on the Commission’s sports gaming proprietor website.  

Q: When can I submit sports gaming equipment for testing and review? 

A: Sports gaming equipment may not be submitted for testing and review until the applicable rules have been adopted and independent test labs have been certified. The Commission currently estimates that the submission of sports gaming equipment will be available late summer or early fall of 2022.  

Q: Is there a deadline for submission of equipment for testing and review if the equipment is to be used on the universal start date?  

A: Yes. A completed test report from an Ohio certified independent test lab or an acknowledgment from the executive director that the equipment need not be tested must be submitted to the Commission at least 60 days prior to the universal start date for that equipment to be used on the universal start date. 

Q: Will the Commission accept equipment submissions after the universal start date equipment approval deadline? 

A:  Yes. The Commission will continue to accept sports gaming equipment submissions; however, any submission received after the deadline is not guaranteed consideration in time to be used on the universal start date. 

Q: May I install and conduct my own testing of sports gaming equipment prior to the universal start date? 

A: Sports gaming equipment may be installed and tested in a test environment provided it is not used for the purpose of conducting sports gaming in the State of Ohio. Once sports gaming is live, equipment may not be used for conducting sports gaming unless the Commission has approved the equipment for use.

Q: What IT security insurance coverage must I maintain and how should I submit proposed IT security insurance coverage for Commission review and approval?

A: The required IT security insurance coverage will vary based on several factors including the type of operation, the complexity of the IT systems and gaming offerings, and other risk factors. Applicants should assess their IT environment and come up with an IT security insurance coverage solution that addresses potential risk. Proposed IT security insurance coverage policy documents should then be submitted for Commission review using the Commission’s sports gaming proprietor website. IT security insurance coverage must be approved by the Commission at least 60 days prior to the universal start date.

For further questions regarding IT security insurance coverage please contact sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.

Q: When and how will the Commission accept applications for independent test lab certification?

A: The Commission estimates that the independent test lab rule will become effective in June 2022. The Commission will provide interested independent test lab candidates with a list of information required to apply prior to this date. Please see the proposed rules for independent test lab certification which were initially filed as a part of batch one of the Commission’s sports gaming rules.

For further questions regarding independent test lab certification or to express interest in certification please contact sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.

Q: When and how will the Commission accept applications for independent integrity monitor certification?

A: The Commission currently expects to begin accepting applications for independent integrity monitors in late summer or early fall 2022. The Commission will provide interested independent integrity monitor candidates with a list of information required to apply prior to this date. Please see the proposed rules for independent integrity monitoring that were initially filed as a part of batch three of the Commission’s sports gaming rules.

For further questions regarding independent integrity monitor certification or to express interest in certification please contact sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.  

Q: When and how must I test my Type-A location-based technology geofence system?

A: Location-based technology geofence systems must be tested for compliance with the Commission’s rules by an entity approved by the Executive Director. The Commission will provide a list of test requirements that must be completed for testing. The Commission estimates that the list of test requirements will be available in late summer or early fall. Completed test results must be submitted to the Commission at least 60 days prior to the universal start date.

For further questions regarding location-based technology geofence systems please contact sportsgaming@casinocontrol.ohio.gov.  

 

Partnerships

Q: Does HB 29 disallow sports gaming proprietors from entering into any sort of contract with mobile or land-based management services providers?

A: HB 29 prohibits Type-C gaming proprietors from contracting with mobile or land-based management services providers to offer sports gaming on behalf of the Type-C proprietor in all circumstances.The bill also requires that Type-A and Type-B proprietors only contract with licensed mobile or land-based management services providers to offer sports gaming on behalf of the proprietor. As is common in the gaming space, this prohibition does not prohibit any otherwise lawful private agreements, but it does subject proprietors to administrative action if any provider offers sports gaming on the proprietor’s behalf, without first obtaining a license. In other words, proprietors cannot offer sports gaming through unlicensed providers. If you have more detailed questions, the Commission encourages you to speak to your private legal counsel.

Sports Gaming Lottery (Type-C Sports Gaming)

Q: What is the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s (“OCCC”) role in lottery sports gaming? Does the OCCC plan to adopt rules on lottery sports gaming?

A: Type-C sports gaming (defined as lottery sports gaming in the statute) is conducted by Type-C sports gaming proprietors on behalf of the Ohio Lottery Commission. As such, lottery sports gaming is to be governed by the rules of the Lottery Commission, as well as a Type-C sports gaming proprietor’s required contract with the Lottery. The exception from this general rule is that the OCCC is the agency tasked with licensing Type-C sports gaming proprietors and hosts. As such, the OCCC has proposed three rules regarding Type-C entities. These rules are located here and are the extent of the OCCC's planned rulemaking on lottery sports gaming.

If you are seeking information beyond what is proposed in these three rules, you may wish to visit the Ohio Lottery Commission's sports gaming webpage, as the Lottery Commission is the agency tasked with that authority and has been releasing information via its webpage.

Taxation

Q: I have a question regarding how certain taxation requirements of HB 29 are to be implemented?

A: Please contact the Ohio Department of Taxation for all taxation-related questions.

Updated: May 24, 2022


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