Most Kentuckians don’t have to travel far to find a legal sports betting market across state borders — the state is nearly surrounded by sports betting options in Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and Illinois.
But sports betting is about to become much more convenient for one of the state’s most populated areas: Northern Kentucky. Once Ohio sports betting goes live on Jan. 1, 2023, residents of the third-largest metropolitan area in the Bluegrass State will be just a short drive from Ohio’s sports betting options.
Here’s what to expect for Kentuckians planning to make more regular visits across the river to bet on their favorite teams.
Ohio sportsbook apps will be plentiful, but you’ll have to cross the river
Ohio’s robust sports betting market will include at least 16 sportsbook apps from the start, but users have to be physically located within state borders to use them.
Each sportsbook app must use a geofence system maintained and monitored by a location-based technology company. Ohio has licensed two such companies so far: GeoComply and Xpoint Services.
These companies identify geographical locations using the global position system, radio frequency identification and nearby wifi signals.
A recent trek across the Indiana border to place a bet demonstrated that geofencing is quite accurate. Online sportsbooks would not accept bets 10 miles or even 1 mile from the Indiana border. They worked a mere few hundred feet across State Line Road in Lawrenceburg, Ind., however.
Signing up for a sportsbook app is simple, and many Ohio online sportsbooks are offering generous sign-up bonuses for new customers — even those out of state.
Several retail sportsbooks coming to Cincinnati area
The Cincinnati area is set to add four retail sportsbooks in the coming weeks: Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, Great American Ball Park, FC Cincinnati’s temporary sportsbook located inside Taft’s Ale House, and Belterra Park racetrack in Anderson Township.
These retail sportsbooks will essentially be sports bars offering betting, with bars, food menus and plenty of TVs.
These sportsbooks will be branded as such:
- Hard Rock Casino — Hard Rock Sportsbook
- GABP — BetMGM Sportsbook
- FC Cincinnati — SuperBook Sportsbook
- Belterra Park — FanDuel Sportsbook
Betting at these locations will be simple: Stop by during business hours and place bets either with a cashier or at a self-serve kiosk. Hold onto your printed betting slip, and bring it back to cash out if it’s a winner.
FC Cincinnati plans to develop a larger area near TQL Stadium and will open a new brick-and-mortar sportsbook there down the line. The Cincinnati Bengals could also open a retail sportsbook at some point, but the team is not doing so at this time, citing NFL rules against in-stadium betting on game days.
Sports betting kiosks coming to hundreds of local businesses
Perhaps the most convenient way to place a bet in Ohio will be to visit one of the 1,000-plus businesses set to install betting kiosks.
The Ohio Lottery has pre-approved around 1,500 businesses to add the kiosks, and over 1,000 have been formally approved. These range from local bars, restaurants and grocery stores to truck stops, bowling alleys and corner stores.
Kroger has been approved to add the kiosks in 42 Ohio stores — the second-most among grocery chains — but it will not install the kiosks until spring at the earliest.
Sports betting kiosks will not offer the full array of bet types found at retail sportsbooks and apps.
Kiosks will be limited to taking the following wagers:
- Spread wagers: A bet on the outcome of a game against odds designed to level the playing field.
- Over-under wagers: A bet on whether the game score will be higher or lower than projected.
- Moneyline wagers: A straight-up bet without any point spread where bettors predict the outright winner.
- Parlays: A single bet on two to four outcomes. Each side must win to produce a winning ticket.
They will not take prop bets or in-game wagers, and each Ohio bettor can only wager up to $700 in each calendar week across all sports betting kiosks.
Like retail sportsbooks, bettors will need to bring back their bet slips to cash out winners. Some businesses that offer lottery products but not sports betting kiosks will also cash out winnings after Ohio changed the kiosk cash-out rule. Lottery retailers are not required to cash out winning sports bets, however.