CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds and BetMGM celebrated the opening of the new BetMGM Sportsbook inside Great American Ball Park on Jan. 1.
Cincinnati Reds legend George Foster and Cincinnati Bengals great Tim Krumrie placed the first bets at the new retail sportsbook, which is located in the former Machine Room restaurant in the stadium.
Ohio sports betting officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, and the state had a huge launch.
The BetMGM sportsbook stayed open for the day’s NFL slate and will be open year-round.
BetMGM Sportsbook is unique among Ohio sportsbooks
Fans visiting the new sportsbook will recognize the space — it is set up similarly to the Machine Room restaurant, with TVs over the U-shaped bar and plenty of seating, including views of the Reds’ field (even on game days).
Of course, the new BetMGM additions stand out: 15 betting kiosks, a huge wall showing live lines, several windows for placing bets with a teller, dozens of new TVs, and an upgraded sound system. The food menu is handled by Wings & Rings.
The 6,244-square-foot version of the BetMGM Sportsbook at GABP is temporary, as the team is working on plans to open a bigger sportsbook down the line.
“We viewed this as an opportunity on a temporary basis to make a capital investment in an area that frankly needed it,” said Doug Healy, Cincinnati Reds CFO. “It’s been outstanding — I couldn’t be happier. Our ballpark ops team did an amazing job, and BetMGM couldn’t have been better to work with.”
The sportsbook offers a view of the Great American Ball Park field from near the left-field foul pole. The view was one of the draws of visiting the Machine Room restaurant on game days, and it remains one of the cooler aspects of the sportsbook.
“To have a location that overlooks a sports field is one of a kind,” said Johnny Groomes, BetMGM director of retail sports east. “It’s really outstanding.”
Groomes said he is particularly excited to see fans watching games inside the sportsbook and noted the storied history of Cincinnati sports.
“I can’t wait until we settle into operating and you get to see the space, get to see people watching games, ordering food, making bets,” Groomes said. “And the atmosphere of a sportsbook is a little different: People always cheer for their home team, but now every game has the opportunity to have that.”
George Foster, Tim Krumrie bet on the home teams
After a brief introduction, Foster and Krumrie set off to the betting window and place the first bets at the sportsbook.
Foster jokingly announced a bet on “Cleveland…” before actually placing his $100 bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win on Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Foster is a former MLB MVP and member of the Big Red Machine, which won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.
Krumrie went bigger with his bet, putting $100 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl. The defending AFC champions are currently +800 to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio. They have the fifth-best odds of winning the title.
“After last year’s run, I think they’ve still got the same impact right now,” Krumrie told PlayOhio.
Krumrie played his entire 14-year NFL career with the Bengals, playing in two Super Bowls. He famously suffered a gruesome leg injury in Super Bowl XXIII in 1988 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Krumrie said he is not a huge bettor but enjoys placing a small bet and watching great athletes. As a NASCAR fan, Krumrie said he was pumped to see the new BetMGM No. 8 car Kyle Busch will drive this season, unveiled outside the sportsbook.
“This is a first-class facility and a first-class organization,” Krumrie said.
BetMGM Sportsbook app also live in Ohio
BetMGM also opened a new retail sportsbook at MGM Northfield Park Racino on New Year’s Eve. The BetMGM Sportsbook app is officially partnered with Northfield Park, but it is available all across Ohio.
The two retail sportsbooks and the app are among 28 Ohio sportsbooks that were fully licensed to launch on Jan. 1.
The BetMGM Sportsbook at GAPB will be open year-round. Per MLB rules, ticketed fans cannot enter the sportsbook from inside the stadium. The book is located on the northeast side of the stadium and is accessible via the arena plaza level entrance.