Several businesses across Ohio over the past week have been reporting that the sports betting kiosks operated by gaming company Intralot are now operational, weeks after the official launch of sports betting statewide on Jan. 1.
Since Ohio sports betting kicked off at the beginning of the year, media reports around the state spotlighted frustrations from bars and restaurants that were saying their Intralot-run machines were not yet available for patrons.
A spokesperson for Intralot told PlayOhio on Jan. 31 that the company’s betting kiosks would be up and running over the next couple of days.
“Intralot will be live in over 700 locations by (Feb. 2). As of tomorrow morning, it will be approximately 400 locations.”
UPDATE Feb. 1: Intralot told PlayOhio on Feb. 1 that some kiosks still need additional updates. “We will end up with around 620 locations with some locations needing a comms upgrade before they can be live. This won’t taken more than a week or two.”
Monthlong Ohio sports betting kiosk delay coming to an end
In late December, the Ohio Lottery Commission, which pre-approves and regulates the Type C licenses required for bars, restaurants, stores and other venues to host the kiosks, said Intralot had informed them their Ohio betting kiosks would not be available until mid-January.
Danielle Frizzi-Babb, communications director of the Ohio Lottery Commission, told Cincinnati’s Local 12 in mid-January that Intralot was still testing its software. She said the Lottery was “hopeful that Intralot will begin a phased deployment in the near future.”
Beginning around Jan. 25, some of the kiosk host locations began posting on social media that their kiosks were operational.
Intralot’s sports betting platform is called SportsBet Ohio. Despite the delay, businesses licensed to add the betting kiosks were able to take bets using a QR code system on individual users’ phones.
Intralot is Ohio’s main Type C kiosk provider
Sports gaming proprietor Intralot was licensed by the Ohio Casino Control Commission to operate 700 of the first 771 kiosks in Ohio.
Intralot utilizes current lottery equipment and infrastructure to facilitate sports betting. Intralot has been an Ohio Lottery gaming system provider since 2009, operating the state’s lottery kiosks and KENO machines.
SportsBet Ohio says Intralot’s sports betting kiosks also have Ohio Lottery play options, making it “the only dual kiosk serving lottery and sports betting in the nation.” The machines also have “age control technology via an ID scan at the kiosk.”
Martino’s on Vine in Cincinnati was one of the locations planning to host an Intralot kiosk. Martino’s manager Marty Angiulli recently expressed his concerns with the delay to Cincinnati news outlet WCPO.
“It was a little frustrating,” Angiulli said. “We were hoping to be up January 1.”
Intralot had a workaround that allowed patrons to download its SportsBet Ohio app to place their bets, then give their phones to an employee who could scan a code and print out their bet slip. Angiulli said his patrons were weary of handing over their phones and would often drive to the nearby casino instead.
But on Jan. 29, Martino’s posted a photo of the sports betting kiosk on its Facebook page and said it was fully operational.
“The sports betting kiosk is now up and running!” the post read. “Come in before and during the games to place your bets!”
More businesses announce Intralot kiosks now functional
Erik Richman — the owner of another Cincinnati venue with hopes of hosting an Intralot machine, the Varsity Sports Bar and Grill — told Local 12 that he was similarly frustrated by the delay.
“It’s frustrating because we did advertise for months leading up to this, saying we were going to have this,” Richman said. “Not only that, they’re advertising it on their website saying we are one of the locations, and we still can’t do it. So, we have people coming in here and get disappointed about it.”
On the morning of Jan. 29, the Varsity Sports Bar and Grill’s Facebook page posted a message it received from Intralot and SportsBet Ohio announcing that their kiosk was set to go live later that day.
“Thank you for your patience and loyalty as we have worked through the process to get your kiosks live!” the message said. “Your partnership is important to us.”
At 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 29, the Varsity Sports Bar confirmed on its Facebook page the kiosk was working, just in time to place bets on the hometown Bengals in the AFC Championship game.
PlayOhio found several other similar social media posts confirming Ohio Intralot kiosks were operational for the first time, including at North Side Saloon and Lynn’s Bar in Akron, Danny Mac’s Irish Pub in Cleveland, John’s Bar & Grille in Canton, Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta and Glenda’s Pizza Depot in Painesville.
The Fricker’s bar/restaurant chain, which also uses Intralot’s kiosks, announced on its Facebook page on Jan. 27 that patrons could now place sports bets at all 22 of its Ohio locations.
Full list of Ohio businesses licensed to add sports betting kiosks:
More sports gaming proprietors in the mix
Though Intralot is the most used kiosk provider in Ohio, there are other sports gaming proprietors licensed to operate in the state.
Kiosks from BetIGG and UBetOhio launched in more than 50 locations beginning January 1. There were a few bumps in the road with those kiosks, as well, but largely the machines were functional.
In light of the early frustration related to Intralot’s machines, UBetOhio recently put out a gloating press release saying it is “seeing increased interests from Ohio businesses after the successful January 1 launch.”
UBetOhio is the current operator of kiosks for 24 businesses across Ohio, including Bar 145 in Toledo, the Varsity Club in Columbus and Kitty’s Sports Grill in Cincinnati.
“Not all kiosk companies are created equal,” UBetOhio CEO Andrew Westmeyer said in the release. “I know there have been reports of kiosks being out of service in bars and restaurants throughout the state but since January 1 — all of the UBetOhio kiosks have been live and taking bets. We have a network of partners who signed on early to reserve their kiosks and we have worked to make sure their customers are enjoying the best sports betting experience possible.”
Four other kiosk operators are slated to begin phased rollouts this year. The Ohio Lottery initially said that BetSkybox would begin a phased rollout in mid-January, followed by Gold Rush Sports Betting in February. Elys Game Technology and Wright Bet Venture will launch “later in 2023,” according to the Lottery.
The Lottery recently announced that six more businesses were licensed to add the sports betting kiosks as of Jan. 20. The total number of businesses licensed to host sports betting kiosks sits at 774.
21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER