Is Ohio Ready for Sports Betting?

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Will Ohio’s legal sports gaming program be ready for its planned January launch?

Don’t bet on it.

Sources said the Ohio Lottery Commission’s proposed rules are getting so much pushback from businesses and potential sports betting outlets that they may have to be rewritten.

The problem is with the withdrawal rules.

The rules require that the bot on the sports betting sites be ready to pay out cash to the gambling winners as soon as the sporting event is over.

For a small business on the night of a major sporting event, that can mean tens of thousands of dollars in cash.

The Ohio chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business said that’s financially impossible for some small business owners and also singled out sports betting operators as targets for robberies.

New numbers show more than 1,000 businesses in Ohio are interested in becoming licensed sports betting establishments.

“It shows that they know their customers demand this product and they want to be able to deliver it,” said Chris Ferrusso of the National Federation of Independent Business. “I’m afraid that a lot of our members, our small businesses, will say, once they understand the rules, ‘This is too much of a risk for me to take.’ It’s too much of a responsibility for me to take on.”

The Ohio Grocers Association also objects to the rule, which would require sportsbooks to cash winning tickets at the point of purchase, eliminating the 600 Ohio grocery stores that are already lottery locations in Ohio.

The Ohio Lottery Commission, however, said its plans to launch sports betting in January remain on track, but it continues to work out the details when it comes to compensating players.

Under Ohio law, sports betting sites are encouraged to provide prize money of $600 or less at their betting sites, but the commission said hosts can choose to limit the amount of prizes they are willing to cash out.

“Just as with the traditional lottery, ensuring that players receive their sports game prizes in a timely manner is critical to the success of the new Type C sports game program and we continue to encourage owners to offer as many redemption options as possible,” the commission said in a statement.

Read the full statement from the Ohio Lottery Commission below:

The Lottery is on track to launch sports betting on the universal start date of January 1, 2023. Just as with the traditional lottery, ensuring that players receive their sports game prizes in a timely manner is critical to the success of the new Type C sports game program and We continue to encourage owners to offer as many redemption options as possible. Owners may choose to offer validation options at non-host locations; however, until the owners are licensed and offer their solutions, we cannot say for sure how validations and redemptions will be performed through multiple systems compared to traditional lottery redemption processes that use a single vendor. Despite the technological hurdles connecting multiple systems, we hope to offer advanced caching capabilities for Type C sports games in the future and will work with all owners on a solution, but it will not be operational on the universal launch date.

When the Legislature passed House Bill 29, it authorized the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) to license up to 20 Type C sports game owners and directed the Lottery to contract with the licensed owners to offer sports games from type C of licensed hosts. The Lottery is currently working through the CSI and JCARR rulemaking processes to fulfill its obligations under the new law to ensure that Type C sports games are conducted with the utmost integrity, just like all Lottery games since the Lottery’s inception in 1974

Said prize payout rule is based on Ohio Revised Code Section 3770.25 (C), which sets forth the methods by which a player may receive his or her lottery sports game prizes. One of those methods is “cash at any Type C sports game host,” and for security purposes, the rule clarifies that host cash payments must be $600 or less, just like current practices with traditional lotteries awards. However, it should be noted that this is no mandatory requirement and hosts may choose to limit the amount of prizes they are willing to redeem. In addition, all hosts and owners must comply with the minimum internal control and security standards that are set forth in both the OCCC’s rules and operating procedures and the Lottery.

Ohio Lottery Commission

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