Martino’s on Vine has been a fixture near the University of Cincinnati campus for approximately 30 years.
To say that it’s a unique eatery in Cincinnati would be an understatement. It’s a Pittsburgh Steelers-themed eatery right in the heart of Cincinnati Bengals country.
Marty Angiulli, a Pennsylvania transplant, opened the restaurant shortly after his son (also named Marty) received a scholarship to play quarterback for the University of Cincinnati in 1991. The Italian restaurant/sports bar — furnished with more than 50 TV screens — has remained a staple near the college.
“It’s been a fun and wonderful journey,” said the elder Angiulli, who is 74.
Sports betting kiosks in play
Angiulli is looking forward to being able to offer something new to Martino’s on Vine customers. His establishment was one of the first 200 sports betting license applicants to be approved by the Ohio Casino Control Commission for a Type C sports gaming host license. He plans to have sports betting kiosks in his restaurant when Ohio commences sports betting on the universal launch date, Jan. 1, 2023.
“We’re pretty excited,” Angiulli said. “I think it will help increase our business.”
Angiulli forecasts the addition of sports betting kiosks could improve his business by “10 to 20 percent.” Even though sports betting will be available to anyone in Ohio with use of a mobile device, Angiulli noted the availability of sports betting kiosks will give his customers a useful choice.
“With sports betting kiosks, you can bet and get paid right away,” said Angiulli, pointing out you will not need to sign on to an app and share any personal information, such as a bank account.
Martino’s on Vine is one of 11 Cincinnati locations among the 200 that received approval for a Type C sports gaming host license. Eleven each from Columbus and Cleveland were also among the initial list that have secured the right to be operational on the universal start date. The first list issued by the commission also included eight establishments in Canton, eight in Youngstown, five in Dayton, five in Akron, four in Parma, and two in Toledo.
Gambling on application
Downtown Johnny’s bar in downtown Toledo is one of the first establishments in northwest Ohio to receive approval for a sports betting license. Dan Martinez, Downtown Johnny’s owner, was among those who applied for a sports betting license early in the application window designated for Type C sports gaming host licenses.
He’s already agreed to have Elys Gaming Technology/Wright Bet Ventures, an Ohio-based startup, install and manage sports betting kiosks. He’s looking forward to offering his patrons the option of placing wagers using a sports betting kiosk.
“I hope it will bring in a lot of business,” Martinez said. “I gambled myself by applying for [a sports betting license]. I gambled $1,000 on the non-refundable application.”
The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved its first batch of Type C sports betting licenses. See a list of Northeast Ohio retailers that received approval. https://t.co/G4yoditZk5
— Crain's Cleveland (@CrainsCleveland) August 17, 2022
With neighboring states Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania already offering various forms of sports betting, Martinez was among those Ohioans who welcomed the Buckeye State’s legalization in December.
“A lot of other states are already doing it,” Martinez said. “I know a lot of people who go over to Michigan and place bets. Hopefully, this will keep them back here at the bars and restaurants in Ohio.”
Downtown Johnny’s has been open for five years in downtown Toledo, across the street from the Huntington Center, which is an 8,000-seat multipurpose arena where concerts are held and where Toledo’s minor league hockey team (Toledo Walleye) plays its home games. His business is open Tuesday-Saturday, but he’s planning to begin opening on Sundays and will subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket once sports betting is made available at the beginning of 2023. Martinez has not been subscribing to the NFL Sunday Ticket since the first year of operation, because he found the cost wasn’t justified.
However, with sports betting coming into play, he’s willing to give opening on Sundays and offering patrons a chance to watch NFL games another try.
“Once they kick off [sports betting], we’ll be open on Sundays and we’ll have the NFL Ticket,” Martinez said.
Sports betting on tap
Doug Powell is the owner of Jackie’s Place in Rossford. He’s been in business since 1993 and was pleased to be among the first group of applicants to receive approval for a sports betting license. He’s also planning to have sports betting kiosks installed in his bar and believes the additions will “probably be pretty good.”
The commission received a total of 652 applications for Type C gaming host licenses by the Aug. 15 deadline, according to Matt Schuler, the commission’s executive director. Yet, that total is barely more than half the 1,254 potential Type C gaming host applicants that were pre-approved for licensing by the lottery commission.
The commission is still accepting applications for sports betting licenses, but any applications received outside of the designated application window aren’t assured of approval in time to take part in the universal start date.
Martino’s on Vine expects to be all in from the very beginning. Angiulli makes it clear how much he’s looking forward to the day when sports betting is finally an option in Ohio.
“If we had the kiosks today, I could go ahead and place a bet today,” Angiulli said. “I’ve been driving over to Indiana, but I won’t have to drive over anymore.”