Cleveland-based gaming and hospitality company JACK Entertainment launched its betJACK online and mobile sportsbook on Tuesday. However, in anticipation of Ohio’s sports gaming market launch, the platform has made its debut as a free-to-play book: customers can bet on sporting events, but only with free tokens and no money involved.
The product is set to allow Ohio bettors to practice for free while the Buckeye State finalizes the launch of its real-money sports betting market. The launch is still planned for late 2022, with the state on pace to commence sports gaming before January 1, 2023, as mandated by the sports bill approved in December last year.
JACK Entertainment explains that its betJACK app will allow fans to try their hand at sports betting, without the risk of losing any money. Users will receive a daily allotment of 100 tokens each day they log in, and then can earn additional tokens with each winning bet.
For its new app, JACK partnered with iGaming tech company Shape Games and sportsbook platform provider Kambi Group. Once sports betting is legalized, the app will be converted into a real-life betting product.
“Jack is thrilled to provide a fun and engaging platform to help sports fans become familiar with the world of sports betting in a free-to-play environment,” said Brian Eby, President of JACK Entertainment. “We wanted to provide an entertaining way for sports fans to learn and become comfortable with sports betting before real money wagering goes live in Ohio.”
As a real-money sportsbook would, the application allows fans to wager on a large number of sporting events. These include NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, international soccer, e-sports and rugby, among other leagues and competitions. Users may access the sportsbook through its dedicated website, or download it from the Apple and Android app stores.
“We are so pleased to launch in the U.S. with this free-to-play product, offering Ohioans a risk-free and consumer-friendly entry into real money gaming in the future,” said Morten Tonnesen, Chief Commercial Officer for Shape Games, which specializes in consumer technology.
Through the partnership, the company will be initiating engagement and loyalty for betJACK, focusing on customer acquisition and retention. Tonnesen further said the business has had “great success” thus far with its F2P approach globally, with the poker market “as a proven case study.”
“Our tried-and-tested sportsbook platform has the flexibility and openness needed to adapt to evolving market regulations and meet the various needs of partners by facilitating third-party integration,” added Sarah Robertson, Kambi SVP of Sales. “As Ohio makes the transition to real money sports betting, we’re excited to leverage this experience helping to prime consumers and the market for the forthcoming real money offerings.”
In addition to its mobile wagering operations, JACK Entertainment is also set to launch retail sports betting via two brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall. The two venues are set to feature Las Vegas-style sportsbooks with video walls, comfortable lounge chairs and a range of assorted amenities.