The Ohio Slate is a weekly look at developments in Ohio’s gaming industry — including betting angles — as the state prepares to launch legal sportsbooks on Jan. 1, 2023.
When sports betting is launched on Jan. 1, 2023, Ohioans will have an opportunity to place wagers either at mobile books or in-person.
On the in-person side, the law allows for a maximum number of 40 proprietors across the state with Type B sports betting licenses, which give approval for brick-and-mortar facilities with betting windows and terminals. A total of 28 counties qualify for having these retail sportsbooks based upon population and economic activity, according to Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) guidelines.
The OCCC has received a total of 26 applications for Type B proprietor licenses and has granted approval for 17, according to eLicense Ohio Professional Licensure.
The state’s three largest counties by population are Franklin, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton. Each one is eligible to have up to five retail sportsbooks. Franklin County, which includes the Columbus area, contains five entities that have received approval for licenses: Hollywood Casino Columbus, Eldorado Gaming at Scioto Downs, Muirfield Village Golf Club, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and the MLS’ Columbus Crew.
Cuyahoga County’s five retail sportsbook licenses are spoken for, as JACK Cleveland Casino, JACK Thistledown Racino, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, MLB’s Cleveland Guardians, and the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers have received approval. Two applicants, Ravencrest Partners and Harry Buffalo, have not been approved and would not receive approval based upon the five-retail-sportsbook limit for Cuyahoga County.
Hard Rock in Hamilton County not yet approved
In Hamilton County, the OCCC has only received applications for four of the five available Type B licenses. The MLB’s Cincinnati Reds, MLS’ FC Holding (Football Club of Cincinnati), and Belterra Park Racino are approved for retail licenses. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati has applied for a Type B license, but hasn’t been approved by the OCCC and is the only casino in the state that hasn’t been granted approval.
Montgomery, Lucas, and Summit counties are eligible to have up to three brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway Racino has been approved for a sports betting license in Montgomery Country and is the only applicant in that county. Hollywood Casino Toledo has been approved for a Type B license and is the only entity to apply for a retail sportsbook license in Lucas County. In Summit, MGM Northfield Park Racino has been approved for a retail sportsbook and accounts for the only applicant in that county.
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Mahoning and Warren counties are eligible to have up to two sportsbooks apiece. Hollywood Gaming & Mahoning Valley Racino has received approval for a Type B license in Mahoning County. Phantom Fireworks is the only other applicant for one of the two Type B licenses in Mahoning, but hasn’t received approval from the OCCC. In Warren, Miami Valley Gaming and Racing Racino is the only applicant in the county and has not received approval.
SPIRE Institute still seeking license
Among the 20 counties that are eligible for a single brick-and-mortar sportsbook, there have only been three applicants for licenses: the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Hall of Fame Village) in Stark County, SPIRE Institute (Geneva Sports) in Ashtabula County, and Lori’s Roadhouse in Butler County. None have received approval from the OCCC.
On July 1, the Pro Football Hall of Fame became the first sports organization of its kind in the U.S. to apply for a sports betting license. SPIRE Institute, a sports-focused prep school located 50 miles east of Cleveland in Geneva, is recognized as the most unusual applicant for a sports betting license, and Lori’s Roadhouse is a music and entertainment venue near Cincinnati that features country music.
The counties of Allen, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Columbiana, Delaware, Fairfield, Greene, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Miami, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Trumbull, Wayne, and Wood — all eligible for at least one retail sportsbook — haven’t produced any applicants for a brick-and-mortar license.
This weekend’s Ohio football action
The Cleveland Browns (2-1) will face the Atlanta Falcons (1-2) on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and BetMGM have the Browns as 1-point favorites, while FanDuel has Cleveland as a slightly larger 1.5-point favorite. All four of the sportsbooks have the over/under at 47.5 points.
FanDuel has the moneyline at -122 for Cleveland and +104 for Atlanta, while Caesars has prices of -120 on the Browns and +100 on the Falcons.
The sportsbooks expect a one-sided affair when third-ranked Ohio State (4-0) plays host to Rutgers (3-1) on Saturday afternoon. FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM list the Buckeyes as 39.5-point favorites over the Scarlet Knights. Caesars and DraftKings have the over/under at 58 points while FanDuel lists it at 58.5 points. BetMGM has the over/under a tad lower at 57.5.
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