If you were hoping to visit the Hall of Fame Village‘s BetRivers sportsbook to bet on a late-season Bengals or Browns game, it’s probably not going to happen.
During its recent Q2 earnings call, Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment CEO Michael Crawford revealed that Hall of Fame Village’s sportsbook is slated to open between April and June 2023. As such, the sportsbook will miss the much-anticipated Jan. 1, 2023 launch of sports betting in Ohio.
The issue is not regulatory- or construction-related — it’s food.
CEO says food operations to blame for late launch
Near the end of his segment of the earnings call, Crawford said “food operations” are causing sportsbook delays. Crawford wasn’t quite clear on what that meant. The village plans to open multiple restaurants in Q4, he noted.
Regardless, the news comes as a bit of a disappointment. Sports betting launches in Ohio on the first of the year. To miss out on that launch no doubt stings a bit for the business.
During the call, Crawford noted that he is aware of how much revenue sports betting could generate simply by looking at the revenue the state’s casinos and tracks are generating.
“As we are waiting, we’re watching things like in July, Ohio is setting records for gaming for the casinos and the racinos — $210 million,” he said. “[It’s] unbelievable how people are enhancing and engaging with sports now through betting. And we’re wanting to bring new and different opportunities for our guests to do that.”
With that type of momentum based on casinos and racing alone, Hall of Fame knows it needs to start its customer acquisition early.
Mobile sports betting could be ready by Jan. 1
Though retail sports betting won’t be ready by Jan. 1, mobile sports betting might, Crawford mentioned. The company’s sports betting operator, Betr, could go live by the new year but only if the company’s licensing goes through.
“We’re really hopeful that in the near term or over the next quarter or two, we’ll get a response from the Ohio Casino Control Commission,” Crawford said. “Mobile will be ready to launch as quickly as the legalized licensing, the legalized sports betting is in place.”
Crawford hypes Betr app, Jake Paul
Betr was a big focus of the earnings call. Crawford praised the partnership, saying famed spokesperson Jake Paul and Betr Founder and CEO Joey Levy “get it.”
“They get where the future consumers and sports betters would like to engage,” he said. “Micro betting is fun. It’s allowing our fans to enhance the way they view all sports, not just football. … We see a ton of synergies between our company and theirs.”
Paul’s soon-to-launch podcast came up in the call, too. Crawford believes that Paul’s star power and Betr’s media focus will drive revenue. He even hinted that Paul may make an appearance at the Hall of Fame Village.
“We think we can create great revenue opportunities and great experiences for our guests in at least two of our business verticals in terms of gaming and media, and, who knows, maybe some onsite presence at the Village,” Crawford said. “Stay tuned.”