Ohio Welcomes Nation’s Biggest Sports Betting Launch Day

Still to come: Caesars has a ribbon cutting Tuesday, FanDuel has one scheduled for Thursday

Seconds after Ohio State’s field goal attempt went wide to secure a win Saturday night for Georgia in their College Football Playoff semifinal, first bets were placed at sportsbooks across Ohio — from Pete Rose’s bet on his Reds to win the World Series, to Bernie Kosar putting $19,000 (in honor of his No. 19 jersey) on the Browns moneyline against the Steelers for Week 18, to a Special Olympics exec betting $68 on the Cavaliers to win the NBA Championship this season.

The openings and launches were as varied as the operators hosting them. In total, at least 15 digital sportsbooks went live in the wee hours Sunday, and retail books opened across the state with ribbon cuttings, free wings, and other specials.

There are more ribbon cuttings to come, with the official Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse set to open Tuesday, and a grand opening ceremony set at FanDuel’s Belterra Park location for Thursday.

The Caesars book began taking bets early Sunday morning, but is saving its ceremonial grand opening for Tuesday, ahead of the Cavaliers’ home game against the Bulls. The 10,000-square-foot sportsbook is located inside the Northwest Atrium area on the street level.

Former Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh will be on hand Thursday for a ribbon cutting and ceremonial first bet at Belterra Park. FanDuel is partnered with owner Boyd Gaming across the U.S., and with the Ohio opening, the pair will have eight retail sportsbooks around the country. Belterra Park is located in southeast Cincinnati, and the new 2,300-square-foot book is outfitted with three teller windows, nine self-service kiosks, and 21 HD TVs.

More to come, and varied places available to bet

The Ohio launch was the biggest one-day launch anywhere in the U.S. since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, with more than 25 platforms and brick-and-mortars accepting first bets on the same day. Ohioans can now place bets at two professional sports facilities — Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Great American Ballpark (BetMGM) — one tap house (FC Cincinnati), and more than a dozen casinos and racinos around the state.

The available digital apps range from DraftKings and FanDuel, the two biggest in terms of market share in the U.S., to the hyperlocal, including MVGBet at Mahoning Valley Gaming in Youngstown. The platform is, so far, the only white label in Ohio.

Still to come are sportsbooks at six more professional sports venues, Muirfield Village Golf Club, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village, which is the first entity of its kind anywhere in the country to be eligible for a legal sportsbook. Lottery partners across the state will also begin rolling out wagering on self-service kiosks at venues like gas stations, grocery stores, bowling alleys, and bars.

While many of those entities had hoped to go live Sunday, those using Intralot kiosks were informed just before Christmas that the kiosks wouldn’t be available until mid January. In addition, grocery chains Kroger and Giant Eagle had previously said they would not go live on Jan. 1.

Sights and sounds from Sunday

Former Browns QB Kosar places Tipico’s first Ohio bet:

BetMGM tipped its hat to all corners of the state:

And those at Dayton’s Barstool Sportsbook got out the big scissors and balloons for an old-school ribbon cutting:

Photo courtesy of MGM


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