The wait is over: Ohio sports betting has arrived. The picture of the state’s multi-faceted betting market is beginning to become more clear.
Three different types of Ohio sports betting applications were due last summer, including the retail sportsbooks on their way to the Buckeye State. These new betting locations will join a couple dozen online sportsbooks and hundreds of betting kiosks, offering Ohio bettors a litany of options.
The retail sportsbooks on their way to Ohio will be a big draw for their regions. Nearly every professional sports franchise, casino and racino has big plans for opening new brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Many are going big with new construction, new partnerships and other draws to attract Ohio bettors to the in-person betting experience.
Here’s what the retail sportsbook landscape looks like now that Ohio sports betting is finally here.
Ohio retail sports betting licenses
There are 40 retail sportsbook licenses available in Ohio.
The Ohio sports betting bill regulates which counties will land those licenses.
- One license is allowed in counties with a population of 100,000 to 399,999 (or two licenses if there are video lottery terminals in the county)
- Three licenses are allowed in counties with a population of 400,000 to 799,999.
- Five licenses are allowed in counties with a population over 800,000.
There is an exception for counties with a population of at least 50,000 but less than 100,000. In order to qualify, the county must welcome at least five million tourists per year. Erie County, home of Cedar Point, is apparently the only eligible county there.
Additionally, professional teams and leagues will have a preference for those retail licenses awarded.
Based on the latest census data released in March, 27 counties meet the minimum threshold of 100,000 residents.
Most Ohio counties will be within a two-hour drive of a casino or sportsbook. Some residents might be closer to physical sportsbooks in West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Indiana, however.
Of course, with plenty of online sportsbooks apps coming to the state, the only time a long drive will be warranted will be when you want to spend a big event, like the Super Bowl, with hundreds of your closest friends.
Where will Ohio’s retail sportsbooks be?
Feb. 7: Two Ohio Barstool Sportsbooks set to open ahead of Super Bowl
Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course will open their Barstool Sportsbooks in time for the Super Bowl.
The Barstool lounge/bar/restaurant spaces have been under construction despite sports betting kicking off in Ohio on Jan. 1. Patrons at the Hollywood-branded facilities have been able to engage in sports betting by using betting windows and kiosks at each location, in addition to the Barstool Sportsbook Ohio app.
Hollywood’s parent company, PENN Entertainment, also owns Hollywood Casino Toledo and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.
Both locations are licensed to add Barstool Sportsbooks and should do so in the near-future.
Jan. 13: Miami Valley Gaming adds retail sportsbook to simulcast room
Miami Valley Gaming has opened its retail sportsbook, adding betting kiosks and other new amenities to its horse racing simulcast room.
The Warren County racino, located between Cincinnati and Dayton, posted a mid-afternoon announcement on Facebook that the sportsbook was immediately open and that patrons were welcome to stop by and check out the new additions.
The new sports betting and race betting area is called The Race & Sportsbook.
Jan. 2: Retail sportsbooks finish first day of legal sports betting
Sports betting is finally legal in Ohio and the state’s retail sportsbooks are currently taking bets.
There are plenty of sportsbooks open for business around different corners of the state, many of which are located inside casinos and racinos. Several of these betting hotspots opened right as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
After a successful first day of Ohio sports betting, the state’s retail sportsbooks are now ready to serve Ohio residents for years to come.
Dec. 27: First 12 retail sportsbooks receive final approval for Jan. 1 Ohio sports betting launch
The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Dec. 21 released an initial list of retail and online sportsbooks allowed to begin operating on Jan. 1, 2023.
Twelve retail sportsbooks and 16 online sportsbooks are fully licensed to begin business on the universal start date.
The following Ohio retail sportsbooks have been approved:
- Belterra Park (FanDuel)
- FC Cincinnati at Taft’s Ale House (Superbook)
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (Hard Rock Digital)
- Hollywood Casino Columbus (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Hollywood Casino Toledo (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley (Barstool Sportsbook)
- JACK Cleveland Casino (betJACK)
- JACK Thistledown Racino (betJACK)
- Northfield Park (BetMGM)
- Scioto Downs (Caesars)
- The Cincinnati Reds at the Machine Room (BetMGM)
Nov. 16: SPIRE Academy snags retail sportsbook license
SPIRE Academy, a sports-focused high school in Geneva, won a pair of Ohio sports betting licenses from the state’s gambling regulators.
SPIRE is involved in a handful of different sides of the sports business. It hosts collegiate tournaments and also runs a sports research development lab. It can now move forward with a retail sportsbook on its campus.
Betting on high school sports is not legal in the U.S., so a high school trying to open a sportsbook was an abnormal move. Despite that, placing the sportsbook at the complex provides some separation between the high school side of the company and gambling.
SPIRE also received a license to partner with Out the Gate on a mobile sports betting app in Ohio.
Nov. 9: FC Cincinnati to open temporary retail sportsbook in restaurant bar
FC Cincinnati has announced plans to open its retail sportsbook in a temporary location while it moves ahead with construction on a location near TQL Stadium.
Until then, the team’s sportsbook will be located in a restaurant and bar called Taft’s Ale House near the stadium. The restaurant is located in a huge, refurbished church, and the sportsbook offerings will be located in the street-level bar area. The sportsbook will open on Jan. 1.
FC Cincinnati has partnered with Superbook on both its retail and online licenses. The team is currently developing an area adjacent to TQL Stadium and plans to build a new sportsbook there.
Nov. 2: Hall of Fame Village, Hard Rock Cincinnati, Miami Valley Gaming retail sportsbooks approved
The Hall of Fame Village, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati and Miami Valley Gaming all landed their retail sportsbook licenses on Nov. 2.
The Hall of Fame Village has partnered with BetRivers on its retail sportsbook, and Miami Valley Gaming will add a self-branded sportsbook to its horse betting options.
Hard Rock will launch its own Hard Rock Sportsbook. The company announced this week that Reds legend Pete Rose will place the first bet at the sportsbook at 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
There are now 20 retail sportsbooks approved in Ohio, with six still awaiting responses to their applications.
Sept. 22: Nine more retail sportsbooks approved, Cincinnati Bengals pass on retail sportsbook at Paycor Stadium
More than half of the retail sportsbooks heading to Ohio have now been approved after the Ohio Casino Control Commission on Sept. 21 licensed nine more entities, along with approving the Cincinnati Bengals’ application to host an online sportsbook.
The total number of retail sportsbooks slated to launch on the Ohio sports betting universal start date of Jan. 1, 2023 has climbed to 17. A total of 26 businesses applied for the licenses.
The Bengals also received their license to partner with an online sportsbook. However, the Bengals have not applied for a retail license at Paycor Stadium, citing NFL rules against in-person, in-stadium betting during games.
“As it currently stands, the NFL does not allow in-person sports betting at any stadium,” she said, “so Betfred and the team chose not to pursue a Type-B license because of this.”
The Bengals did receive their license to partner with Betfred on an online sportsbook. The commission approved nine other businesses for both retail and online sportsbooks during its meeting.
The following sportsbooks are officially on the way after receiving licenses for both retail and online sportsbooks:
- FC Cincinnati
- MGM Northfield Park
- Scioto Downs
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Cleveland Guardians
- Hollywood Casino Columbus
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway
- Belterra Park Cincinnati
Sept. 8 Update: Ohio approves first retail sportsbooks
The Ohio Casino Control Commission this week approved the first group of retail sportsbooks coming to Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023.
Commissioners gave their stamp of approval to eight retail sportsbooks, and each was also approved for a license to host an online sportsbook.
- Cleveland Browns
- Columbus Crew
- Muirfield Village Golf Club
- Cincinnati Reds
- Hollywood Casino Toledo
- Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley
- Jack Cleveland Casino
- Jack Thistledown Racino
The commission did not approve or deny applications for the Cincinnati Bengals, which has only applied to host a sports betting app, and FC Cincinnati, which applied for both retail and online. Commissioners voted to take up their applications at a later date.
The commission will consider more than a dozen additional applications in the coming weeks.
Ohio retail sportsbook application process
Preference was given to Ohio’s casinos, racinos and sports teams for the process.
Here are the locations that applied. As you’ll see, some tough decisions will have to be made.
Ashtabula County (one license available)
- Geneva Sports (Spire Institute), Geneva, (Out the Gate)
* Though Ashtabula County does not qualify for a sportsbook based on the 2020 Census, the 2010 Census is being used for the sports betting requirement, according to the OCCC.
Butler County (up to one)
- Lori’s Roadhouse, West Chester Township (no partner announced)
Cuyahoga County (up to five)
- Jack Casino in Cleveland (branded as BetJACK)
- The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced a Caesars Sportsbook will be at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland
- Jack Thistledown Racino in North Randall (BetJACK)
- The Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium (Bally Bet)
- The Cleveland Guardians, Progressive Field (Fanatics)
- Harry Buffalo sports bar (PointsBet)
- Ravencrest Partners (no brand announced)
Erie County (one under special exemption)
- Cedar Downs OTB, Sandusky (BetMGM)
Franklin County (up to five)
- Hollywood Casino in Columbus (Barstool, BetRivers)
- Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus (Caesars)
- Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin (online partnership with BetParx)
- Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena (Fanatics)
The Columbus Crew could have one at Lower.com Field, but the franchise has not yet applied.
Hamilton County (up to five)
- Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati (Hard Rock Sportsbook)
- Belterra Pack racetrack in Anderson Township (no partner announced)
- FC Cincinnati, TQL Stadium (SuperBook)
- Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park (BetMGM)
The Cincinnati Bengals are not applying for a retail sportsbook at Paycor Stadium due to the NFL’s ban on in-stadium betting.
FC Cincinnati plans to open a temporary retail sportsbook inside a bar/restaurant/brewery called Taft’s Ale House while it completes plans to build a new sportsbook near TQL Stadium.
Lucas County (up to three)
- Hollywood Casino in Toledo (Barstool Sportsbook)
Mahoning County (up to two because of video lottery terminal provision)
- Covelli Centre, downtown Youngstown, application from Phantom Fireworks (details here from vindy.com)
- Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course (Barstool Sportsbook)
Montgomery County (up to three)
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Barstool Sportsbook)
Morrow County (special exemption)
- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Troy Township (granted because of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race; has not yet applied)
Stark County (up to one)
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has announced plans for a sportsbook (BetRivers Sportsbook)
Summit County (up to three)
- MGM Northfield Park (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Warren County (up to one)
- Miami Valley Gaming racetrack, Turtlecreek Township (no partner announced)
Check back, as we will keep this list updated.
Winners and losers in the quest for betting licenses in Ohio
The big winner will be the sports bettor. With 65, and potentially more, retail sportsbooks and online betting apps available, expect a plethora of generous promotions and welcome offers to choose from.
Of course, big counties, casinos and sports teams are also winners. Big counties could have up to five retail sportsbooks, and casinos and sports teams could have one retail and possibly two online sportsbooks, provided they can justify the need.
The big loser in all of this isn’t really that big of a loser. There is a big area of the state where residents will be living far from a retail sportsbook location.
Those residents have options, though. They will have their choice of online sports betting apps, and there will likely be lottery kiosks available at many of the Ohio lottery retailers located throughout the state. However, the downside is those kiosks will have a more limited selection of bets available than retail sportsbooks.
The state has pre-approved nearly 1,6oo locations to add kiosks, and over 1,000 have been approved. As of March 17, 930 businesses were fully licensed to install the kiosks.
All sorts of small businesses around the state will be offering betting.
When can I gamble on sports in Ohio?
Now! Sports betting in Ohio went live on Jan. 1, 2023. Twenty-eight sportsbooks were licensed to begin business on the universal start date, and more continue to hit the market.