Ohio regulators have approved the first 200 sports betting licenses in the state, ahead of the January 1, 2023, market launch. Hundreds of applications are still pending.
The Type C sports Gaming Host licenses enable establishments to install kiosks that may take up to $700 per week in bets from adults in the Buckeye State. The kiosks are set to be programmed by separately licensed sports betting proprietors with four types of wagers, including point spreads on individual games, and parlays involving four games per bet.
“It’s going to end up being a really nice thing for business,” Marty Angiulli, owner of Martino’s on Vine, the first bar in the Clifton area to secure a license, told WCPO. “We try to be a sports bar, so we said, ‘Let’s try to get a kiosk' to keep them here to watch the game and increase our business as far as food and alcohol.”
In addition to kiosk betting in bars, restaurants and other such establishments, Ohio’s sports gaming law also calls for licenses for mobile apps and retail sportsbooks in casinos and stadiums. Parties interested in joining the upcoming market applied through a process that launched in June.
Geez Grill and Pub, one of hundreds of pre-qualified bars and restaurants
In order to qualify for kiosks, bars and restaurants must secure a $1,000 host license from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Additionally, they also have to be a lottery retailer in good standing, and hold a D-1, D-2 or D-5 liquor permit. Then they must partner with a company in charge of operating the machines, under a Type C proprietor license also issued by the OCCC.
This sports betting expansion has gathered considerable interest from establishments all over the state, with the Ohio Lottery having pre-authorized more than 1,200 companies as qualified to pursue Type C licenses. And as of August 15, the commission had received some 652 applications, with the first 200 unanimously approved by resolution on Wednesday.
Approved applicants come from different parts of the state. More than a dozen establishments in the Cleveland area were greenlighted, while 18 of the first 200 licensees are based in the Columbus area. But while these venues cleared a major hurdle this week, sports betting hosts still have much work to do before launch.
The next steps include the submission of compliance materials to address how they’ll handle security and responsible gaming standards, among other tasks. Additionally, a large group of these venues is likely to renovate their establishments through new additions such as TVs and extra seating. The applicants will be licensed for three years, beginning January 1.
Grand Central Bar in DC, the first restaurant to launch sports betting there
Establishments that haven’t yet applied for a sports betting license still have time to do so. In addition to bars and restaurants, other venues such as bowling alleys, golf courses, or even grocery stores, may apply as long as they tick all the boxes.
While the OCCC had previously set a Monday deadline, in a memo sent Wednesday the commission said it would continue to receive applications from lottery retailers. “The Commission anticipates being able to continue to process and license Type-C sports gaming hosts who missed the application window ahead of the universal start date,” it stated.
While this does not mean that hosts “can wait and apply at any time,” it implies that hosts that apply within the next few weeks “are still likely” to receive consideration in time to launch sports gaming on January 1.
The list of companies that have applied to host sports betting kiosks includes a few surprises, including major supermarket chains Kroger and Giant Eagle: the first applied for licenses at 42 of its locations across the state; while the latter has been prequalified for 63 of its stores. Starting next year, Ohioans’ shopping lists may include a wager on a Browns game.