(WJW) – The moment that sports fans have been waiting for years to arrive is nearly here — sports betting is days away from being legal in the Buckeye State.
“Ohio’s just one of those states where we know how sports-crazed it is,” Matt Schoch, of PlayOhio.com, said.
It’s a new era in gambling, uncharted waters for most Ohioans who have never placed a bet.
With launch just days away, PlayOhio wanted to make sure people know how to navigate this new space and take advantage of promotional offers.
“PlayOhio.com has all the information on how to get the best bonuses, but seven of them that we have deals with right now that give you, PlayOhio customers, the best amount of bet credits to get them started,” Schoch said. “If you sign up for all seven of them, you’d have $920 worth of bet credits to get started.”
To earn these bet credits, you must register before the sportsbooks go live digitally. One of the largest platforms comes by way of DraftKings Sportsbook.
“You download the app and register, you get $200 worth of free bets, so that’s the thing I’ll take advantage of for everyone,” DraftKings Director of Sports Operations Johnny Avello said. “Five lucky users, by us randomly picking them, are going to get $100,000 in free bets. That’s pretty extraordinary.”
Avello said DraftKings will be up and running immediately on Jan. 1.
“On 12:01 in the morning on the first of January, they’ll be able to make wagers by funding it and play all the content that’s available,” Avello said.
Schock said some of the deals have more incentives like bet insurance on initial bets, but also specific rules to follow.
“Read the fine print for each of them,” Schock said. “There’s different details for different operators that are out there, but PlayOhio has all that information as well.”
Bettors can also place bets in person at casinos or even in stadiums like Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse or FirstEnergy Stadium. Bets can also be placed at sports betting kiosks within bars and restaurants.
With all these options available, especially the mobile sportsbook, experts say this could lead to problems with gambling addiction, especially through learned behaviors in kids, according to the Lake County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS).
“Research has shown that if youth are starting to get exposed to gambling by the age of 12, they are four times more likely to evolve and get a gambling problem as an adult,” Lake Co. ADAMHS Director of Marketing and Communications David Schick said.
To combat that potential issue, the Lake County ADAMHS Board is receiving a $50K grant to raise awareness though advertisements.
“It’s really taking a big step taking it out of a casino, a traditional setting that a lot of us adults are used to and bringing it into the home,” Schick said. “That’s a completely different avenue where it’s much harder to control. The exposure is 24/7.”
You must be 21 in Ohio to legally bet on sports. Schick said help is available for anyone who feels they are struggling with gambling addiction through the website helpthatworks.us or by calling 440-350-2000.
Avello said it’s good to remember that sports betting is for fun, not for financial gain, offering these tips to navigate the new space safely.
“I would say for the users to take it slow. It’s always good to set a budget, keep this as a form of entertainment,” Avello said. “Don’t let it be confusing to you. Start off slow and find the things that you know about, that you’re comfortable wagering and you can expand from there.”
More information on how to gamble responsibly can be found at the Ohio for Responsible Gambling website.