Ohio's Steps Toward Legal Online Sports Betting - Will Texas Follow Suit?

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Ohio's Steps Toward Legal Online Sports Betting - Will Texas Follow Suit?

As Ohio hits a new milestone, the market is meeting revenue expectations one year since launching legal retail and online sports betting on January 1st, 2023. After the first full year of operations, policymakers can better judge the impacts of the expanded gaming legislation. So, it's interesting to assume what will follow in the American gambling industry - will other states follow the example of Ohio?

Ohio's legalisation aftermath: How did it impact the state?

In the first 9 months of 2023, Ohio's sportsbooks generated over $2 billion in wagers, with the revenue topping $4 billion at the end of the year. With revenue exceeding projections, tax collections are assisting Ohio's General Fund. Sportsbooks have also partnered with four of the state's top sporting franchises to promote offerings to legal age sports fans.

Insights on Ohio's Sports Betting Rules and Oversight

Under the state's 2021 law, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) supervises sports betting.

Key components of Ohio's sports betting regulations include:

  • A 10% tax rate will be applied to sports betting receipts;
  • Wagers may be placed on professional sports, collegiate sports, esports, international events, and more.
  • Minimum legal age to bet set at 21 years old;
  • Additional licenses may be granted to bars and restaurants to offer sports betting terminals;
  • Responsible gambling controls mandated such as self-exclusion options.

The OCCC maintains authority under the legislation to issue fines or suspend operator licenses if sportsbooks violate established rules and regulations. Revenue from penalties also helps the Commission fund resources to address problem gambling. So the comprehensive legislation aimed to balance business opportunities with enacting consumer protections in legalizing this new gaming vertical within the state.

Texas Maintains Nation's Strictest Gaming Prohibitions

With some of the harshest regulations in the US, Texas regards several gambling activities as criminal offenses, such as:

  • Betting on the partial/final outcome of a game/contest or a participant’s performance;
  • Betting on the outcome of a political appointment, election, or nomination;
  • Betting for money or other valuable things during any game involving dice, cards, or balls.

In 2022, Texas allows fantasy sports, bingo provided by charitable organizations, horse and greyhound race betting at the few race tracks, and several land-based casinos.

Could this change?

On the one hand, this seems highly unlikely due to the criminalization of most betting activities.

Such a harsh view on gambling and the interdiction of online casinos don’t seem to favor an upcoming legalization.

However, other factors should be considered:

  • An attempt to legalize sports betting was made in 2021, but the bill didn’t receive enough support back then;
  • The population of Texas is changing, with moral beliefs against gambling becoming less and less prominent;
  • The state has almost 10% of the total US population, being able to bring in significant revenues;
  • If business opportunities appear, Texas could become the biggest gambling market in the US.

How Other Countries Handle Gambling Licenses

Gambling licenses are issued differently in each country, depending on the gambling authority’s requirements.

UKGC

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the primary gambling authority in the market, overlooking the entire UK gambling industry.

Its duties include:

  • The UKGC imposes the strictest regulations when it comes to both casino games and betting;
  • Their verifications are frequent and thorough, making sure that all operators conduct their activities according to the law;
  • They have extensive regulations and objectives related to addiction prevention and responsible gambling tools.

Since Ohio just legalized sports betting, it is clear that the state’s attitude is, to say the least, reticent when it comes to gambling.

As a result, future restrictions on online casinos in Ohio are anticipated to align with the strict requirements enforced on top UK online casinos. The UK boasts some of the world's highest standards for licensing official internet gambling websites in domains such as consumer safety, responsible gaming, transparent marketing practices, and site security.

Malta Gaming Authority

  • A highly reliable gambling authority, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) issued licenses for some of the most reliable operators in the market;
  • MGA investigates all complaints filed by users;
  • Ensures player safety and security.

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario

  • iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, oversees the local gambling industry;
  • Their compliance obligations for online gambling websites are numerous, and they can be found on their official website.

Who will follow up next?

It seems unclear whether Texas will follow the example of Ohio regulators when it comes to legalizing gambling.

Even so, more and more US states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and now Ohio, are slowly starting to allow the establishment and expansion of the gambling industry, bringing in profits that may help the country lower unemployment rates and even avoid recession.

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