“Gamblers are dry and empty souls, their hearts have been sucked dry, there’s no music in their walk, they are colorless and condemned.”

Ole Charles Bukowski may have been correct, but there’s still nothing like hitting a 3-team parlay!

On Jan. 1, 2023, Ohioans will legally be allowed to make their fortunes, squander their children’s college funds or just throw $20 on a random Cavs game.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced Wednesday that the universal start date for sports gaming will officially be Jan 1., 2023. House Bill 29, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed into effect late last year, stipulated that sports gaming begin no later than Jan. 1, 2023, although some lawmakers had hoped it would begin even earlier than that.

So Ohio House Bill 29 passed and sports betting is officially set to go into effect next year, following a national trend. But the Ohio Casino Control Commission still has a lot of work to do before January. 

“Currently, the Commission is working through the rules, applications, forms, systems, and other items necessary to implement the bill’s provisions and has announced a timeline for applications,” according to casinocontrol.ohio.gov/

You’ll most likely see licenses awarded to existing casinos and racetracks in the states. The “action” is not just at those physical locations, either, as mobile apps will coincide with the licenses and there are plans to turn lottery kiosks into modified betting stations as well. 

Locally, you will see your favorite sports team partner with gambling entities and those holding licenses. Knowing the change in law was coming, the Cleveland Browns, for example, have already inked a deal with Bally’s to provide in-game wagering at First Energy Stadium. 

Can you imagine how many Browns fans, when Cleveland goes down 14 in the first quarter, are going to be leaving their seats and running to the kiosks?   

For gambling degenerates like me, sports betting has always been around in Ohio. You could have placed wagers with offshore casinos like Bovada (the payout came in a certified check from Canada and you would still be required to pay taxes on your winnings – unless you got payouts below $500 every time and thus they turned invisible).

Fantasy sports sites like Draftkings and Fanduel have been providing ways to bet on players and performances for years in Ohio. In the ‘80s, there were bookies with rat tails and black fingerless gloves and they’d say words like “vig” and “juice.” 

Yes, there are going to be some gambling addiction issues, a few lives will be ruined. But Ohio’s ’bout to make some serious tax cash and again, I must remind you all of the thrill of hitting a parlay – it makes their sacrifice worth it. 

But seriously, in the book “Fight Club,” Chuck Palahniuk writes that of all the alcoholic anonymous, substance survivors and life support groups, of all those types of meetings, the gamblers anonymous was the most tragic and sad. Hopefully the Control Commission will establish real pathways to help addicts and those struggling with gambling issues.    

If you’re curious and new to gambling or just want a refresher, here are some really cool buzzwords to use next time sports wagering comes up or really sports in general: 

What is the spread / the line? One team is almost always favored over another, and the underdog is given points/runs to level the playing field (that expression actually fits here!). The Guardians are favored over the Reds by two runs. So it would be displayed as Guardians -2 or Reds +2. The moneyline is betting the Reds without the gifted runs. The payout is bigger, the bragging louder but the odds are not in your favor. 

The biggest thing to remember, and that “the public” (non-professional gamblers) gets wrong all the time is that the spread is not what Vegas/the oddsmakers think the final score will be, it is a line to make sure there is equal action on both sides. Everyone knew Tom Brady’s Patriots were going to win, but would they win by 17 points? Maybe you take the other team. 

Also never, ever, bet on something Vegas has given you as a sure bet. 

Pro gambler RJ Bell told a story about the guy that comes up to you at the golf course. The strangers says, “I bet you 100 bucks I can stick five golf balls in my mouth.” That’s too many, you think, so you take the bet. He fits five in his mouth, takes the Benjamin and saunters away. He knew that he could fit five in there. Why else would he make that bet? 

In the previous round of the NBA playoffs, the Mavs were down 0-3 in the series to Golden State. In game four, the Mavs were favored. The public bet the hell out of Golden State, thinking, look how stupid Vegas is, Golden State is a monster team, they are up 3-0, no way they can lose, and I’m getting points!?!?

Mavs won by 10 points, the public lost big time and a new penthouse floor got added to the Bellagio in Vegas. The oddsmakers said they can fit five Mavs golf balls in their mouths and you didn’t believe them. 

In my limited success as a gambler (which is degenerate speak for, “I lose a lot”), the one thing you have to do is quit when you’re down.

Yes, you read that right. You can always lose more.

If a toe got chopped off in a car accident, that would be significant. But someone has been in a wreck and they lost a foot, someone else a leg. It’s a super over-used cliche, but Kenny was right: “Know when to walk away, know when to run.”   

“Gamblers All” by Bukowski:

sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think,

I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside

remembering all the times you’ve felt that way, and

you walk to the bathroom, do your toilet, see that face

in the mirror, oh my oh my oh my, but you comb your hair anyway,

get into your street clothes, feed the cats, fetch the

newspaper of horror, place it on the coffee table, kiss your

wife goodbye, and then you are backing the car out into life itself,

like millions of others you enter the arena once more.


you are on the freeway threading through traffic now,

moving both towards something and towards nothing at all as you punch

the radio on and get Mozart, which is something, and you will somehow

get through the slow days and the busy days and the dull

days and the hateful days and the rare days, all both so delightful

and so disappointing because

we are all so alike and so different.


you find the turn-off, drive through the most dangerous

part of town, feel momentarily wonderful as Mozart works

his way into your brain and slides down along your bones and

out through your shoes.


it’s been a tough fight worth fighting

as we all drive along

betting on another day.

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