Ohio Opens Sports Betting Application Window

Online and retail sportsbook operators may now apply for sports betting licenses in Ohio, following the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s recent approval of provisional licensing rules.

On June 15, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) approved provisional licensing rules, opening up the application process for online and retail sportsbooks and operators of kiosks in bars and restaurants.

The first application window, for retail, mobile or lottery sports betting operators, will close July 15. The second window will close August 15 and will include mobile operators that are offered a second license by a casino or sports team. These licenses are not guaranteed; operators must prove they will offer the state additional economic impact. Lottery retailers desiring to offer sports betting also can apply during this period.

The OCCC will create a new website chronicling “on a regular basis” which companies have applied for a sports betting license. Eventually a searchable public registry of all applicants will be available.

Sports betting must launch by January 1, 2023 according to enabling legislation. However, mobile and retail sportsbooks can start signing up players before then. OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler noted the state’s 11 casinos and racinos will have slightly more than six months to create on-site sportsbooks.

Hollywood Casino Toledo Vice President of Marketing Alex Rangel said that venue as well as Penn National Gaming’s three other Ohio properties will have on-site Barstool Sportsbooks ready for the January 1 launch.

He said, “We get asked every single day about it from our guests. It’s been going that way for years, ‘When are you guys going to get sports betting?’ Since people heard HB 29 passed, that just ratcheted up that much more. They really wanted it to start by the start of football.”

Rangel said construction will begin in early July at the Toledo sportsbook, which will include a bar, three-tier-level seating, a pair of 22-foot-long jumbo screens and “TVs everywhere.” Betting windows will be located near the sportsbook’s entrance, and 30 self-service betting kiosks will be available throughout the casino. He added, “We’re optimistic as a whole that Ohio is going to be a very healthy market, being the seventh-largest state in the country.”

JACK Entertainment plans to open sportsbooks at JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall. Both will include video walls for viewing sports and comfortable seating. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati’s sportsbook will be built next to the Hard Rock Cafe Bar, officials said.

Sportsbook plans are inconclusive at Miami Valley Gaming and Belterra Park Cincinnati. A Miami Valley Gaming spokesman said a construction start date hasn’t been said because of a lack of space and recent expenditures on a new gaming patio. However, patrons still will be able to wager on sports with their cell phones while watching sports at the racino bar.

At Belterra Park Cincinnati, space also is limited, but patrons will be able to place mobile sports bets at the Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, which offers more than 50 HDTVs. MGM Northfield Park has converted its former gift shop to a TAP Sports Bar, but has not announced if it will build an on-site sportsbook.

The Cleveland Browns have a partnership deal with Bally’s, including a Bally’s branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cleveland Cavaliers have partnership deals with Caesars Sportsbook and Fubo Gaming, including building retail sportsbook lounges inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. In addition, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has a partnership deal with Rush Street Interactive, including building an RSI sportsbook at the Hall of Fame Village’s Fan Engagement Zone.