Ohio legalized sports betting in December 2021 after Governor Mike DeWine signed off on House Bill 29. That made the Buckeye State the 33rd to pass legalization, though it took over a year to get the wheels off the ground.
Casinos, sports teams, stadiums and arenas, bars and restaurants, and local shops were allowed to apply for operator licenses under the legal framework. The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) spent the next year-plus largely vetting and determining which applicants were worthy of having their license requests granted.
The bill was passed out of necessity, in part. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and other nearby states all offered legal and live sports betting options and were poaching many would-be Ohio bettors.
“Ohioans are crazy about their sports—they really love their sports—and we think it’s going to be quite popular,” said Hard Rock property president George Goldhoff, as reported by Spectrum News 1. “The money that was being bet by Ohioans, whether it was in Michigan or Indiana, is all going to stay here in the state and the taxpayers are gonna benefit.”
Ohio already missed out on a major opportunity last year when the Bengals reached the Super Bowl. Joe Burrow and company are one of the top contenders to get back to the big stage this year, however, which would surely give Ohio a huge early boost in participation.
The state could also benefit from making Rose a prominent figure synonymous with Ohio sports betting, similar to how Houston high-roller Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale represents Texas sports betting.
The Reds and the rest of the MLB will be back for spring training at the end of February. It’s a shame that the 81-year-old Rose, the league’s all-time leader in hits, won’t be able to dial back the years.