The Cincinnati Reds announced Thursday that the new BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ball Park will open on Jan. 1, which is opening day for legal sports betting in Ohio.
The Reds and BetMGM are hosting a grand opening at the sportsbook starting at 11 a.m., with longtime season ticket holders invited to place the first wagers and standout Queen City athletes George Foster and Tim Krumrie scheduled to be on hand.
Sports betting is legal but not yet live in Ohio, but that changes starting on New Year’s Day, when mobile sportsbooks may begin taking bets. Eventually, the state expects to hand out 25 mobile licenses and 40 retail sports betting licenses.
Ohio sports bettors will just miss the opportunity to bet on a marquee event for the state, as Ohio State plays No. 1 Georgia in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve. The winner of that game will advance to the national championship on Jan. 10 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
At the Jan. 1 event at Great American, BetMGM will unveil the new paint scheme for Kyle Busch’s No. 8 car as the newest member of the Richard Childress Racing team. The shindig will open with an NFL watch party, during which groups of two or more can get five free chicken wings.
Reds mascots Mr. Redlegs and Rosie Red are also scheduled to be be at Great American on Jan. 1. The BetMGM sportsbook is located in The Machine Room on the northeast side of the ballpark and can be accessed via the arena plaza level entrance.
MLB stadiums adding sportsbooks
Major League Baseball has come a long way from its earlier days of shunning sports betting, including the lifetime ban it handed to Reds legend Pete Rose for betting on baseball while managing the team in the 1980s. The Washington Nationals already have opened a BetMGM sportsbook at their stadium, and the Chicago Cubs also are working to build a sportsbook adjacent to Wrigley Field.
Many industry observers expect most major league stadiums to one day have a sportsbook on site or in the immediate neighborhood.
Photo: Joe Simon/USA TODAY