- Ohio’s regulated sports betting industry launched in January.
- The Ohio Casino Control Commission has barred betting on the XFL but has yet to issue a reason for doing so.
- The Commission has published criteria for what they deem as an acceptable betting event, which may give insight as to why the XFL was disallowed at Ohio sportsbooks.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After the gambling world was overjoyed from the legalization of sports betting in the USA’s seventh biggest market this January, tragedy has befallen football fans. Many excited fans who are now unable to bet on the NFL shifted their eyes to the returning XFL, but were unable to get the league onto sportsbooks after the Ohio Casino Control Commission blocked access.
Outrage soon ensued and sports gamblers took to social media to express their discontent as well as calling on government officials to make changes. Legal betting sites still have been given no official answer as to why the XFL is not being allowed.
Reasons for the Ohio XFL Betting Restriction
While the Casino Control Commission has yet to release any statements regarding why, a look at their criteria for deciding betting events.
- The quality of the governing body’s documented integrity program.
- The general availability of information related to the governing body.
- The professional or skill level status of athletes.
- The history of integrity related to events sanctioned by the governing body.
Off the bat, we can rule out criteria three and four as the XFL clearly has professional level players as evidenced by the many former NFL and top college athletes that are prominently featured. Also, the league has a very short history with no real reason to doubt their integrity, especially under their new ownership group featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Gerry Cardinale.
In terms of criteria one, the XFL did sign a “comprehensive integrity program” partnered with Genius Sports in 2020. Genius Sports is a very well-known company and is partnered with many other leagues such as the NCAA, NBA, and PGA tour, meaning it would be unlikely that their quality would not be up to par with Ohio sportsbook standards.
This leaves criteria two as the most plausible reasoning, but it is a big headscratcher as to why. The official XFL website provides a detailed and comprehensive mountain of information regarding the ownership group, involved companies, staff, coaches, etc. If this is truly the part that the Commission has issue with, it would be due to the subjective nature of the criteria’s wording and not because of the actual lack of information available.
Perhaps the OCCC disagrees with the history of integrity due to former XFL founder Vince McMahon and his history of problematic scandals. However, after the league filed for bankruptcy in 2020, McMahon was ousted and specifically prohibited from repurchasing the league. This led to the new ownership group forming and moving forward with the XFL being free of McMahon’s involvement.
Thus, the overall decision by the Ohio Casino Control Commission to bar XFL betting in Ohio is an extremely puzzling one that does not appear to have much legitimacy as per their criteria. Legal sportsbooks are surely hoping for a quick resolution to this problem with the best outcome being the XFL’s inclusion among betting markets for Ohio and other states suffering similar issues.
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Jeremias is a current Florida State University student majoring in Editing, Writing and Media as well as Media/Communication studies. Primarily focused on the NFL, NBA, and NHL, Jeremias has a passion for sports statistics research that helps bettors find the blind spots in sportsbooks.