Fanatics, SPIRE Institute Among New Ohio Wagering Licensees

As Jan. 1 launch date nears, OCCC didn't bat an eye over issuing a license to a college prep school

The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday approved 14 new sports betting licensees, among them Geneva Sports, which operates a sports academy, and Fanatics, the sports merchandise company that is planning a move into sports betting. The OCCC also discussed its bet menu, which it released late Wednesday.

Geneva Sports, which runs the SPIRE Institute, a college-prep school with a focus on sports, is the first entity of its kind to be licensed anywhere in the U.S. The company was approved for both Type A and B licenses, which means that it can offer both retail and digital wagering. It is partnered with Out of the Gate, which will manage both kinds of wagering but has not yet been licensed.

Commissioners, who had no questions about Geneva Sports or its applications, voted unanimously to approve it. Geneva Sports became the 22nd entity to get approval as a Type A licensee (mobile) and the 21st to be approved for a Type B (retail) license as the OCCC prepares to launch operators on Jan. 1.

Like all other Type A licensees, Geneva Sports will be entitled to up to two mobile platforms. Under the law, the OCCC can issue up to 25 Type A licenses, and so far, 23 entities have applied. The only one that has not been approved is Stark Enterprises, which did not submit until Oct. 19, meaning there is no guarantee it will be approved ahead of the launch date.

Fanatics gets multiple approvals

The commission also approved four Sports Gaming Services Providers, among them Fanatics, which was awarded two Management Services Provider licenses to operate retail locations and one Mobile Management Services Provider license. Fanatics, which is partnered with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets to offer a digital betting platform, has plans for brick-and-mortar locations at both the Blue Jackets’ Nationwide Arena and the MLB Cleveland Guardians’ Progressive Field.

Fanatics is not yet live with sports betting in any U.S. jurisdiction, though that could change next week, as the company was among a group that Maryland’s regulator approved on Wednesday to launch before the end of November. The expectation, however, is that Fanatics’ Maryland launch will not come until 2023.

Should Fanatics launch in Maryland before Ohio, it will open a window into what kind of platform the company will offer. All eyes have been on Fanatics, which has not publicly announced a partnership with a sports betting platform or indicated if it will build its own.

Betr Holdings, Parx Interactive, and Gamewise were each also approved for Mobile Management Service Provider licenses, while Elys Gameboard Technology and Gold Rush Amusements were awarded Type C licenses, which will allow them to work with the bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and grocery stores that plan to have wagering kiosks. Seven suppliers, including NYX Digital Gaming and Continent 8, were also licensed.

Betr, the new microbetting company backed by social media star Jake Paul, is partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Parx is partnered with the Muirfield Village Golf Club and Gamewise has a deal with Miami Valley Gaming and Racing.

Photo: Shutterstock


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