Ohio Joins Sports Betting States

On New Year’s Day, Ohio sports betting officially kicked off, making it the 32nd state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize the wager. Baseball’s hit king Cincinnati native Pete Rose (l.) made the first bet at Hard Rock Cincinnati on the Reds to win the World Series.

A little over a year since a bill legalizing sports betting was signed by Governor Mike DeWine, sports betting in Ohio went live on New Year’s Day. A total of 16 mobile sportsbooks and 12 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks went live immediately, but dozens more will follow as Ohio is one of the first states to allow free-standing kiosks in bars, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores and others. More than 1,000 kiosk locations were approved prior to the launch.

Like in most states, the sports betting operators are offering a variety of bonuses to attract players. BetRivers, the brand of Rush Street Interactive, will offer a “second chance” where players are offered a bet of up to $500 with a code, as well as a string of “house specials” focusing on Ohio favorites.

“We are really excited to offer Ohio’s nearly 12 million residents betting action on the upcoming college bowls and the NFL’s big game, and expect our BetRivers sportsbook to be very popular as bettors come to appreciate and trust our high-quality and innovative product that we are known for in other states,” said Richard Schwartz, chief executive officer of RSI. “In addition to football, BetRivers offers our customers endless entertainment with countless other sports and betting options available for their pleasure, including an exciting range of bets on NBA and NCAA basketball.

“At RSI we are constantly striving to provide a more trusted betting experience by emphasizing usability, responsibility, and transparency. Our mission is to always put the player experience first – focusing on earning and retaining player trust through our array of proprietary betting options, fast and easy payouts, and best-in-class customer service. We can’t wait for Ohioans to experience all that BetRivers offers.”

Caesars Sportsbook emphasized its several locations, including Scioto Downs and inside the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, as a partner of the NBA Cleveland Cavalier, as well as its popular online book.

“Caesars Sportsbook is ready to offer a top-of-the-line sports betting experience to Ohioans,” said Eric Hession, president of Caesars Digital. “This launch builds on our legacy in Ohio of treating customers like royalty. We look forward to providing an added level of excitement to the sports entertainment experience, whether they use our mobile app or visit one of our new retail sportsbooks in Columbus or Cleveland.”

BetMGM also highlighted its two Ohio locations, MGM Northfield, outside of Cleveland, and the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

“Today marks a monumental day of growth for both BetMGM and the sports betting industry,” said Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM CEO. “Ohio is home to thousands of passionate sports fans, who now have the opportunity to enjoy first-hand the excitement and benefits of wagering with BetMGM.”

At MGM Northfield Park, the BetMGM Sportsbook features an LED video wall and makes it easy for guests to access a variety of sports wagering options including five betting windows and 14 kiosks.

As the Official Sports Betting Partner of the Cincinnati Reds, BetMGM debuted an in-stadium sportsbook at the Great American Ball Park that is open to guests year-round. The 6,244 square foot space features 15 betting kiosks and three betting windows.

Matt Buckley, president and COO, Midwest Group, MGM Resorts International, said, “The addition of legalized sports betting at MGM Northfield Park strengthens our reputation as Ohio’s premier entertainment destination. This new amenity will give our guests the ultimate sports viewing experience, while creating more jobs and economic growth for the state.”

Other sportsbooks that launched on New Year’s Day include FanDuel, DraftKings, Barstool Sportsbook, bet365, PointsBet, and more. Ohioans will also be able to wager at retail locations such as Belterra Park, Hollywood Casino Columbus, JACK Cleveland Casino and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, among others.

Along with the launch of sportsbooks in Ohio, a warning was sent out via advertising from the group, Ohio For Responsible Gambling (ORG). As part of ORG’s “Get Set Before You Bet” gambling education push, “Pause Before You Play” is designed to make bettors aware of the potential for problem gambling with sports betting.

“The challenges of problem gambling go far beyond the person placing a bet,” said Derek Longmeier, executive director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio. “Families, children, and businesses all face consequences with a person’s gambling addiction.

“The majority of Ohioans who gamble will stay within their limits. As sports betting grows exponentially in 2023, it makes sense that we will see more challenges here in Ohio.”

It is estimated that Ohioans will bet up to $8 billion in the first year, with the state netting over $50 million in taxes and fees.