The Ohio Lottery Commission made adjustments in the cash-out rules for sports betting kiosks on Aug. 10, addressing concerns that some say could have jeopardized the Jan. 1, 2023 launch date.
Nine administrative rules were approved, including one that gave a pathway for lottery retailers who do not offer sports betting to still have a pathway to cashing winning tickets for customers.
Recent reports suggested that the Ohio sports betting target launch of New Year’s Day 2023 could be in jeopardy because of complaints over the initial cash-out rule. These reports or concerns were not specifically addressed during Wednesday’s meeting, but the commission later confirmed this rule had been revised.
“We have clarified Rule 3770:3-8-02 to make explicitly clear that Type C proprietors may allow non-host locations (all lottery retailers) to cash sports gaming prizes if they choose to do so,” Lottery Director Pat McDonald said in a statement to members of the Ohio General Assembly.
“This was always the Lottery’s intention but is now clarified in rule to avoid stakeholder confusion on this issue.”
Although the launch date for sports betting kiosks is still Jan. 1, lottery retailers might not be ready pay out winning tickets by that date. In other words, gamblers might temporarily have to cash out their wins at the same business where they placed their bet.
The Ohio Lottery is on track to have their expanded system ready to go for day one, but that could change in the months leading up to launch.
Explaining the OH betting kiosk rule change
When the Ohio sports wagering bill was signed in late December of last year, one of the approved betting methods is at kiosks at places like bars, restaurants and grocery stores. These types of wagers will be regulated by both the lottery and the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
With that, the lottery commission pre-approved 1,100 Ohio businesses for a Type C license. This would allow them to host a sports betting kiosk.
However, in the initial rule, it was written in a way that led many to believe these bars and restaurants would be required to keep large sums of cash on hand in order to cash out bets. This led to concerns across the state that these businesses may be subject to robbery, among other potential incidents.
“It will be known who has these permits, who’s able to do sports betting,” Chris Ferruso, Ohio legislative director for the National Federation of Independent Business said, according to reports. “If they’re sitting on tens of thousands of dollars in cash, they’re the target for robbery.”
As mentioned above, the commission says that was never the intention of the rule. Additional comment from the commission’s office Wednesday to PlayOhio clarified further:
“It was always our intent to offer as many options as possible for customers to cash their sports gaming prizes and the change to the prize payment rule simply clarifies that intent to expressly allow non-host locations (all lottery retailers including grocery stores) to cash sports gaming prizes if they choose to partner with a proprietor.”
McDonald also stated there won’t be a required minimum amount of cash for businesses to have on-site. They will also be allowed “to choose to limit the value of prizes they are willing to cash.”
Where can Ohio kiosk bettors cash out?
With the amended rule, Ohio bettors will have a few options when it comes to cashing out their winnings.
- Place of purchase (should the host be able to)
- Many of the roughly 10,000 lottery retailers in the state
- Lottery offices
McDonald said a fifth option through the existing MyLotto Rewards app could also be made available.
New Year’s Day is still the Ohio sports betting play
Despite reports that this rule could put a wrench into Ohio’s plans to launch on New Year’s Day, the lottery commission put that to rest on Wednesday. In a statement to PlayOhio, the commission said it is “committed to the January 1 start date.”
Even if the commission didn’t think it was possible, there’s not much it could do to delay the launch date. According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, both Ohio Lottery and itself do not have the authority to force a delay, as it is written in state law.
However, even with kiosks opening for business on Jan. 1, that doesn’t mean that the lottery’s new expanded system for cashing out winners will be ready in time. Gamblers might have to wait a few weeks before they’re able to collect their winnings from any lottery retailer.
Deadline near for kiosk applications
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.