Ahead of Jan. 1 launch

Ohio: New sports betting licenses approved for casinos, operators and pro sports teams

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.
Reading time 2:39 min

The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved Wednesday several licenses for stakeholders seeking to provide sports betting in the state. Hollywood Casino Columbus, MGM Northfield Park, pro sports teams Cavaliers and Guardians, and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway are among the new parties greenlit to proceed as soon as the market is launched in January. 

Online sportsbook operators also received their shares of new permits, including: Bally’s, Barstool, bet365, BetFred, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, Fubo, Parx, PlayUP, PointsBet, SuperBook, Tipico, Underdog Sports, WynnBET.

Racino MGM Northfield Park will provide both in-person and online gambling services. It is expected to host a Barstool Sportsbook and is partnered with BetRivers for online gaming, according to commission records. Miami Valley Gaming in Warren County also applied to host sports gambling but was not on the commission agenda to be voted on Wednesday.

The legal sports betting market will launch in Ohio on January 1, 2023. The casino control commission is in the process of regulating, approving applications and completing other essentials to launch in the state. While revenue from the vertical will probably be a secondary draw at casinos when compared to slots, the properties do not want to miss the sports betting action.

However, they will not be the only locations ready to take bets. Dozens of restaurants and bars have been approved by the casino commission to have sports gambling kiosks in their establishments. And pro sports franchises are seeking a piece of the gambling pie, too.

Cincinnati Bengals

The casino commission on Wednesday approved several pro sports teams — the Cincinnati Bengals, FC Cincinnati, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians — as well as gambling venues Scioto Downs, and Belterra Park; which add to the previously cited Hollywood Casino Columbus, MGM Northfield Park, and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.

The Cavaliers announced a deal with Caesars Sportsbook last February to build a facility at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse where they will share the cost of creating a dedicated space. According to reports, it will be located at street level at the intersection of Huron Road and Ontario Street and will be open year-round for those with tickets and those who want to place bets.

Wednesday’s licensees join a number of others that have received their initial permits, including the Cincinnati Reds, Muirfield Village Golf Club, and the Cleveland Browns. Several suppliers received approvals from regulators on Wednesday as well, including GeoComply.

Of the total number of greenlighted licenses, the majority of them –300– correspond to type C permits for various restaurants, bars, and suppliers who will now have the opportunity to offer gambling kiosks on their premises. As for type A and B licenses, the OCCC only considered 10 licensure applications from companies who submitted “complete and timely applications.”

Northfield Park will partner with BetMGM. And the Guardians, according to their Ohio Casino Control Application, will partner with upstart FBG Enterprises for its sportsbook. In regards to mobile licenses, the Cavs will partner with Fubo Gaming, and the Guardians have selected bet365.

MGM Northfield Park

The state estimates that regulated sports betting will be a $1 billion industry in Ohio in its first year of operation, growing to $3.35 billion within a few years. Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling four years ago cleared the way for all 50 states to legalize sports gambling, Americans have bet more than $125 billion on sports.

Prior to launching, the commission discussed during their Wednesday meeting the issue of problem gambling, and heard employees propose the development of new programs to address any increase in gambling problems that sports gambling may bring about. 

The solutions currently under development include advertising to alert people of the existence of specialized help, and the expansion of Ohio’s voluntary exclusion program that gives people the ability to ban themselves from casino and racino properties. 

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