Ohio market to launch before 2023

Ohio regulator clears 2nd round of sports betting rules; Cincinnati's Hollywood Casino expands Barstool Sportsbook

Ohio State Buckeyes.
2022-03-17
Reading time 3:01 min

The Ohio Casino Control Commission unanimously approved a second round of sports betting rules on Wednesday. Market launch is still planned for late 2022, with the state on pace to commence sports gaming before January 1, 2023, as mandated by the approved sports bill. Gearing up for this new market, a neighboring Indiana's Penn National Gaming casino in the metropolitan area of Cincinnati has already expanded sports betting facilities.

The latest set of rules -there will be a total of five rounds- lay out details for type A and type B licenses and license fees. They were subsequently filed with the Ohio CSI after the commission meeting ended.

As per the rules, a maximum of 25 Type A sports gaming licenses -for online sportsbooks through computers and mobile applications- will be issued. License holders, which must also hold a Type B license or have an operational place of business in the state, may partner with up to two sportsbook operators, implying a maximum of 50 online operators in the state.

Meanwhile, Type B sports gaming licenses are for brick-and-mortar facilities, which may offer wagering through betting windows and terminals. A maximum of 40 licenses may be granted, and licensees can partner with only one Management Services Provider (MSPs) or sportsbooks. 

The rules call for limits for the number of Type B licenses per county, based on population. Ohio counties with a population of 800,000 or more may have a maximum five Type B licenses, while those with 400,000 to 800,000 residents may have a maximum of three Type B licenses. Lastly, those with a population between 100,000 and 400,000 may have only one Type B license.

As per the rules, there are 20 counties eligible for one Type B license, two counties that may have a maximum of two licenses, three with up to three locations, and three counties eligible for up to five Type B licenses.

Finally, Type C licenses reserve sports betting permits for self-service or clerk-operated terminals in establishments with liquor licenses. A maximum of 20 such licenses may be issued. Proprietors may place kiosks at an unlimited number of Type C establishments.

The rules call Ohio’s four casinos, seven racinos, eight pro sports teams, and NASCAR and PGA events, for preferences for Type A and Type B licenses. Assuming all eligible preferred proprietors apply and are suitable for licensure, there will remain four Type A licenses and 19 Type B permits.

Applicants will be evaluated on a series of “contributions” to Ohio, including the current or intended physical presence, the length of time the applicant has been doing business, the total amount of table income the applicant pays or will pay to its employees, and the current or intended local and statewide economic involvement.

All stakeholders will be notified when applications may be submitted, currently estimated for summer/fall 2022. Pro sports teams will pay between $1 and $3.3 million for online licenses, while others may pay between $1.5 million to $5 million.

Indiana venues prepare for Ohio launch

In anticipation of the Ohio sports betting market launch and increased competition, Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Cincinnati metropolitan area, unveiled on Wednesday a $2.4 million expansion of its Barstool Sportsbook. The venue has now added slot machines, table games and new dining options to the sports amenity, which first opened in 2019.

The expansion comes as an effort to secure customer loyalty prior to the sports betting debut in the neighboring state. “We know there’s going to be additional competition but we’re combating that with more of an experience, leveraging our players card, leveraging our property, leveraging additional gaming options that those other facilities won’t be able to offer,” Mike Galle, general manager of the property, told abc 9.

The 25-year-old-casino is the top-performing retail sportsbook in Indiana, having generated $15.5 million in revenue last year. But experts believe the Ohio sports market will probably double the size of Indiana, putting pressure on venues in the Hoosier State.

“How do you build loyalty? You offer them the products that they want, right? And that’s why we’re expanding the space. That’s why we’re trying to develop an environment that’s all-inclusive,” Galle added, expressing confidence the Hollywood Casino will remain competitive.

The new sportsbook is nearly twice as big, and features over 50 new slot machines and electronic table games, 20 self-service betting kiosks, five new blackjack tables and a new betting window for VIP customers. An expanded dining area added 50 new seats and a refreshed menu, further reports the cited source.

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