Sports betting kiosks will be a unique feature of Ohio’s new sports betting industry.
With the universal launch of Ohio sports betting less than two months away, the locations and total number of betting kiosks are becoming more clear. As of early October, the Ohio Casino Control Commission had licensed over 800 businesses to add the kiosks.
With dozens of grocery stores set to add the betting machines, along with a wide variety of other types of businesses throughout the state, it appears that sports betting kiosks will be quite prevalent in Ohio.
OCCC has licensed 884 Ohio sports betting kiosks
The sports betting kiosk host applications were easier for the state to process than the retail and online sportsbook applications, in part because the Ohio Lottery was able to pre-approve businesses that already had the appropriate liquor and lottery licenses to qualify.
A kiosk host is the business — such as a grocery store — where the kiosks will be found. Each host must partner with a kiosk operator, who installs and manages the machines.
The Lottery has now pre-approved over 1,400 businesses to add kiosks. That number was around 1,300 when the first deadline for betting kiosk host applications rolled around during the summer. And because only 652 applications came in ahead of the OCCC deadline, the commission advised pre-qualified businesses to continue applying — in part because the applications are easy to process.
That encouragement appears to have worked, as the OCCC has now approved 884 of 900 total kiosk host applications, according to Jessica Franks, OCCC director of communications.
Plenty of kiosk options, including Kroger and Giant Eagle
As of Oct. 28, the Ohio Lottery had pre-approved 1,412 businesses to host kiosks. That number continues to grow, meaning ease of access will not be a problem as the market builds upon the 884 set to go live on Jan. 1.
Ohio supermarkets present the widest availability across the state. Currently, the two chains with the most kiosks are Giant Eagle and Kroger.
Grocery store chains with the most kiosks set to be installed in their stores:
- Giant Eagle: 65 kiosks
- Kroger: 42 kiosks
- Acme: 9 kiosks
- Buehler’s: 8 kiosks
Grocery stores currently make up just over 15% of all approved kiosk operators. To get an idea of the betting options provided by kiosks, this map presents only the Kroger stores offering kiosks in Ohio:
Most Ohio bettors can find their way to a Kroger kiosk, with the one major exception being Cleveland. Kroger does not have any stores in Cleveland, which is serviced by the Giant Eagle chain.
Cashing out can happen at various kiosks or Ohio Lottery locations
Ohio has made cashing winning tickets fairly convenient, as players will be able to cash out at kiosk host locations, along with some licensed Lottery retailers that do not have kiosks.
The options will be:
- Place of purchase (should the host be able to)
- Many of the roughly 10,000 lottery retailers in the state
- Lottery offices
The one caveat is that Lottery locations are not required to pay out sports betting winnings — those that do will receive a small fee. This rule change allowing Lottery locations to pay out sports betting tickets was made in response to concerns by kiosk hosts concerned that holding large amounts of cash for sports betting payouts might put them at increased risk of robbery.
The kiosk hosts are required to pay out winnings up to $600. The kiosk operator is responsible for payouts of $600 and higher.
The Ohio Lottery Commission has stressed that kiosk and lottery retailers can participate in paying out sports betting prizes, but they are not obligated in any way. This produces uncertainty as to exactly how many vendors will be willing and able to cash out winnings.
Time will have to tell here. But considering that there are over 10,000 lottery retailers on top of the 884 current kiosk locations, bettors should be confident that a payout option is nearby.
Kiosks can field many, but not all, bets
Kiosks can field the following types of bets:
- Moneyline wagers
- Over-unders wagers
- Spread wagers
- Parlays: a single bet on two to four outcomes max
Futures, in-game wagers and other bets commonly found at sportsbooks will not be available at the kiosks.
Finally, bettors planning to use kiosks should remember that the weekly betting limit across all Ohio sports betting kiosks is $700.
Coming down to the wire
With a little under two months before launch, the OCCC and the OLC have their hands full with the kiosk market. After kiosk operators receive a license, they will need to set up their equipment, test it and have it approved.
The OCC deadline for various compliance materials, employee applications, facility plans, test reports and surveillance details was Nov. 2.
The commission will next turn its attention to the verification of these systems and equipment. Starting on Dec. 2, staff will conduct on-site visits to verify facility plans, security cameras and other equipment based on sports betting license requirements.