Bookmakers Can Recruit Customers In Ohio Before Jan. 1 Launch

Bookmakers Can Recruit Customers In Ohio Before Jan. 1 Launch
© USA Today

Though legal sports betting in Ohio doesn't begin until Jan. 1, bookmakers already can seek customers.

Sports betting operators are allowed to engage in “user recruitment” and to sign up Ohio users for sports gaming accounts ahead of the launch date three months from now, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Patrons are allowed to deposit funds in their accounts but not place bets yet.

When recruiting customers, bookmakers have to be careful with the wording. 

For instance, the phrase, ”$100 free bet once you bet $100” is considered false and misleading. The $100 free bet would not be “free” because it would cost the customer $100 to get it, according to Ohio Casio Control Commission guidelines.

“Any promotion or bonus described as free or risk-free must not require the patron to incur any loss or risk their own money to be used or to withdraw winnings,” the commission rules state.

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Here Are The Online Bookmakers So Far In OhIo

Sports gaming advertising and marketing have occurred in Ohio for some time, Jessica Franks, the commission’s communications director, told Gambling.com.

However, rules are in place to protect customers even before the first legal sports bet can be made on Jan. 1. In a meeting earlier this year, the commission was told sports betting can begin immediately after midnight on that date.

Under consumer protection guidelines, a bookmaker would have to notify “all recruited users” that they can unsubscribe or cancel their accounts if the bookmaker isn’t granted a license or withdraws from consideration.

Though online bookmakers can recruit customers, the operators that have applied for a license have not received final approval.

However, several service providers are listed on the commission website as having “conditional approval.” These online bookmakers include: 

  • Bally’s
  • Barstool
  • Betfred
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • Bet365
  • Caesars
  • DraftKings
  • Fanatics
  • FanDuel
  • Fubo
  • MaximBet
  • PointsBet
  • Superbook
  • WynnBet

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GeoComply Gets Initial OK For Ohio

GeoComply, a Canada-based cybersecurity firm, has received a conditional license in Ohio to provide geolocation and ID verification services for sports betting, the company announced.

GeoComply’s services can pinpoint users trying to bet in a legal state from a state where sports wagering is illegal. 

For example, a person in Kentucky, where sports betting is illegal, would not be able to use a mobile device to bet next door in Ohio. That person’s attempt to place an illegal bet would be blocked by geofencing.

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Governor Signs Sports Betting Into Law

Sports betting became legal when Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed a sports wagering bill into law a few days before Christmas last year. 

As 2022 got underway, the Ohio Casino Control Commission began working on rules and regulations to govern the industry. The commission set Jan. 1, 2023, as the date when all sportsbooks — land-based and mobile — can begin accepting bets.

After the Jan 1 universal start date, people in Ohio will be allowed to place bets in-person at sportsbook ticket counters inside casinos, racinos and professional sports venues.

Bettors also will be able to download mobile apps to place bets and use self-service kiosks in bars and restaurants with liquor licenses.

People who are 21 years old and up will be able to wager legally on professional and collegiate sports, as well as automobile racing, Olympic events and more.

The Jan. 1 start date is occurring in time for bettors interested in Super Bowl betting to wager on this season's title game, set for Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.

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