BetMGM and PointsBet Apply for Ohio Sports Betting Licenses

The two operators applied last week for "mobile management services provider" licenses that would permit them to run online books on behalf of professional sports organizations, casinos, and racinos.

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2022 1:37 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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The first batch of applications has been filed for Ohio sports betting licenses.

According to the list maintained by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, BetMGM and PointsBet applied last week for "mobile management services provider" licenses.

The permits would allow the two companies to run online sportsbooks on behalf of the professional sports organizations, casinos, and racinos that will hold the “proprietor” licenses for mobile wagering. 

BetMGM has also applied for a "management services provider" license, which would enable the operator to run a brick-and-mortar sportsbook on behalf of a proprietor. However, who will receive the services remains to be seen, as neither bookmaker has a "proprietor partner" listed yet.

"Partnership information will be published once applications from both parties have been received," the document from the Ohio Casino Control Commission says.

A busy market

The applications from BetMGM and PointsBet are likely the first of many from the big names of legal sports betting. The legal Ohio market will launch on Jan. 1, 2023, and regulators expect to sort through thousands of applications before then. 

Ohio’s sports-betting law allows for up to 25 online "proprietor" permits to be issued at first, in addition to 40 licenses for retail sportsbooks.

The online license-holders can partner with as many as two mobile management services providers, such as BetMGM and PointsBet. However, to contract with a second mobile service provider, the proprietor must show it would generate additional economic benefits and will not stop another proprietor from securing a contract with a service provider.

Opening moves

Several partnership announcements have already been announced in the Buckeye State, such as between the owner of Caesars Sportsbook and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The partnership includes plans for a retail sportsbook at the team's home venue. Caesars is also expected to access the state's online-betting market through Caesars Entertainment Inc.-owned Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Casino in Columbus.

Ohio's first applicants have been making inroads into the state, too. BetMGM launched a horse-racing mobile app in Ohio last year, and PointsBet has a market-access partnership in the state with Barstool Sportsbook-owner Penn National Gaming Inc.

Major bookmakers have been eagerly eyeing the Ohio market. It is the seventh-most populous state in the U.S., behind Illinois and ahead of Georgia, and will have a relatively low tax rate of 10% of revenue.

The interest from operators means lots of work for regulators as well

“January 1 will represent the largest expansion of gaming in Ohio’s history and the largest ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the United States,” the Ohio Casino Control Commission says on its website. “According to industry estimates, this will necessitate detailed due diligence investigations, as well as comprehensive compliance examinations, of approximately 3,000 licensees ahead of January 1.”

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