Ohio might be changing its payout rules for sports betting kiosks after receiving some pushback on the requirements for cashing out winning gamblers.
The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) will meet on Aug. 17 to evaluate the current set of rules. That could lead to some adjustments for bars and restaurants looking to host kiosks when Ohio sports betting begins on Jan. 1, 2023.
So far, there’s been no indication that any possible changes, nor the missing disparity study, could impact the launch date. But it’s something we’re monitoring at PlayOhio.
Cashing out kiosk winners
Well over 1,000 businesses will be hosting kiosks for sports betting next year, so any rule changes will have wide-ranging consequences.
The current rules require kiosk owners to cash out winning gamblers as soon as the sporting event ends.
That has some business owners worrying about how much money they’ll need to keep on hand while operating those kiosks. Having dozens of winners to cash out at the same time could potentially cause a bar to need thousands of dollars to pay winners.
The concerns are leading to pushback in Ohio in advance of this month’s JCARR meeting.
Expanding sports betting payout options
Chris Ferruso, Ohio legislative director for the National Federation of Independent Business, has been particularly vocal about the current Kiosk payout rules.
Since the list of kiosk owners is publicly available, Ferruso is worried that these businesses could become targets for criminals.
“It will be known who has these permits, who’s able to do sports betting. If they’re sitting on tens of thousands of dollars in cash, they’re the target for robbery.”
Ferruso believes that the rules should change to allow any lottery retailer to pay out winning kiosk bets, rather than just the location where the bet was placed. The argument is that spreading the money out over multiple locations could reduce the risk of crime.
Rep. Bill Seitz is also on board with changing the current rules to fold in more retailers.
“The legislation we passed envisioned that winning ticket holders could take their winning ticket to any authorized lottery retailer to cash it. This was of some help to the lottery retailers because they earn a small commission when they cash any winning ticket.”
Seitz and Ferruso are in favor of withdrawing the current set of rules to replace them with a fresh proposal from kiosk owners.
The JCARR meeting could potentially lead to that change, but things might not be that simple. Kiosks will be incredibly popular in Ohio, so any adjustments to their rules could create pushback from different sides of the business.
Kiosk owners can set their own limits
Generally speaking, it’s easier to maintain the status quo than it is to make changes. That could end up being the nail in the coffin for Seitz and Ferruso’s proposed plan.
The current set of rules could already help prevent the need for huge amounts of cash on hand.
Kiosk bets have limits on the payouts that gamblers can receive in person. If your winnings are larger than $600, then you’ll have to claim your money by mail.
The rules also allow more wiggle room. According to Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb, businesses with kiosks can set their own payout limits.
“For security purposes, the rule clarifies that payments in-cash at a host should be of $600 or less, just like current practices with traditional lottery prizes. However, it should be noted that this is not a mandatory requirement and hosts may choose to limit the amount of prizes they’re willing to cash.”
In other words, if your local bar doesn’t want to hand you $200 cash for your winning ticket, then it doesn’t have to.
That should help businesses if there’s a room full of winning bettors looking for payouts at the same time. In that case, it would lead to more prizes being claimed by mail.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but allowing any retailer to redeem tickets, as Seitz and Ferruso suggested, could help give bettors faster options.
However, that could also lead to pushback from kiosk owners.
After all, those businesses have to pay to get in on the sports betting party. If other retailers aren’t the ones jumping through those hoops, then why should they get a cut of the action? It’s something that the JCARR will have to consider at its Aug. 17 meeting.
Will changes delay Ohio sports betting?
Even if Ohio makes changes to its kiosk rules, it isn’t likely to delay the Jan. 1 launch of sports betting in the state. Kiosks are only one piece of the puzzle.
Since it’s still so early on in the process, these businesses don’t actually have their kiosks up and running yet. That should make any changes fairly easy to implement into the current plans.
However, that isn’t to say that the launch date is completely untouchable. This, or the missing disparity study, or other hiccups in the process could still push legal sports betting back.
But kiosks aren’t likely to become a huge road block. However, potential changes could still alter the way that thousands of bettors use them throughout the state.
Application Deadline Approaching For Kiosk Hosts
Businesses that want to add sports betting kiosks ahead of the universal start date have until Aug. 15 to apply for a license through the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Businesses may apply after the deadline but won’t be guaranteed consideration in time for the state’s Jan. 1, 2023 launch.
As of Aug. 19, the Ohio Lottery had pre-approved 1,303 businesses in the state to host a sports betting kiosk.