Browns, Crew Among First Applicants Approved For Sports Betting Licenses

Bengals, Cavs, Guardians still waiting as some casinos and racinos also get approval

The National Football League’s Cleveland Browns and Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew lead a list of professional sports organizations that received approval for sports betting licenses by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) during a bi-monthly meeting held Wednesday morning in Columbus.

The Browns and Crew were approved for Type A and Type B licenses. Type A licenses grant approval for the operation of online mobile sportsbooks, while Type B licenses grant approval for operation of brick-and-mortar facilities with betting windows and terminals. 

Six of the 10 professional sports organizations in Ohio that are eligible to apply for sports betting licenses were up for consideration by the OCCC after submitting applications that met all of the requirements. Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds and Muirfield Village Golf Club were also approved for Type A and B licenses. Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament.

The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and MLS’s FC Cincinnati were also up for consideration, but the OCCC opted not to vote on their approval since neither organization had anyone in attendance to speak on their behalf, unlike the four sports organizations that were approved. The commission moved to vote at a later date on the Bengals (Type A) and FC Cincinnati (Type A and B).

The Cleveland Guardians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, all of which have applied for Type A and B licenses, were not listed among the group up for consideration. 

Incomplete license applications

Prior to the commission voting on approvals for licenses, OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler announced that roughly a third of the license applications were not in compliance with the necessary requirements.

Schuler said the OCCC received applications that failed to identify key employees and holding companies. He said those submitting incomplete applications have been notified and will have until Oct. 5 to submit all of the needed information in order to be guaranteed for consideration for the universal launch date of Jan. 1, 2023.

“They can sit on the sidelines while everyone else, who was doing the work and was keeping pace, is going to make it across that finish line,” said Schuler, referring to those who have submitted incomplete applications. “We do not have the time. If someone believes as an applicant that they have the wherewithal to offer sports gaming to the citizens of Ohio, they ought to at least demonstrate that by being able to meet the minimum requirements set forward by the General Assembly.”

It wasn’t mentioned if the Guardians, Cavaliers, Blue Jackets, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame were among those that have submitted incomplete applications.

Casinos and racinos approved

The commission also approved sports betting licenses for a number of casinos and racinos during the meeting.

JACK Cleveland Casino received approval for Type A, B, and management services provider licenses, while JACK Cleveland Thistledown Racino received approval for Type A and B licenses. Hollywood Casino Toledo and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racino were also approved for Type A and B licenses.

Hollywood Columbus Casino and Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway Racino have also applied for Type A and B licenses, but were not on the list for approval. Furthermore, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, MGM Northfield Park Racino, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Racino, Belterra Park Racino, and Miami Valley Gaming and Racing Racino were not on the commission’s first list of approvals for Type A and B licenses, but have applied for sports betting licenses.

Batch 4 rules approved, Batch 5 on deck

The commission also approved the final filing for the Batch 4 set of rules, which basically address sports gaming supplier licenses, sports gaming employee licenses, house rules, location-based technology, sports gaming facility design and inspections, sports gaming facility security, sports gaming facility surveillance, sports gaming facility cashiering, sports gaming facility restrictions, and Type C proprietor duties.

Additionally, the OCCC approved a rule on the problem gambling plan.

Batch 5 rules represent the last group set to be approved by the commission, and they’re expected to be considered during the OCCC’s scheduled Oct. 5 meeting.

Photo: Shutterstock


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