The Ohio Casino Control Commission did not license any new retail sportsbook applicants during its Oct. 5 meeting, leaving a few big-name operators on the outside looking in with less than three months to go before launch.
OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler lamented the fact that some yet-to-bet licensed sports betting operators have bombarded licensing staff with questions about their applications while failing to provide necessary information.
The commission had set an Oct. 5 deadline for operators that filed incomplete applications to provide missing information or risk missing the Ohio sports betting universal start date of Jan. 1, 2023.
Licensing staff has been “swamped” by companies scrambling to meet today’s deadline, Schuler said.
“Our applicants are also constantly barraging the staff as to when they’re going to be on the agenda, and they seem to believe that their application and their circumstances are more important than every other application that we have,” Schuler said.
Commission still frustrated with certain applicants
The commission on Sept. 7 noted that 33% of its applicants had not provided enough information to be considered.
Schuler appeared frustrated at the time, saying, “We do not have the time or the resources to carry anyone across the finish line. They have to be capable of doing the very minimal requirements set forth by the General Assembly.”
These operators apparently have not made sufficient progress. Instead, operators are pestering commission staff with questions about the status of their applications. Responding to these inquiries is a laborious process, Schuler said, with staff “explaining things they should already know.”
Schuler likened the back and forth to children on a road trip asking, “Are we there yet?” He said some applicants appear to be heeding the metaphor, “Squeaky wheel gets the oil,” but that the commission is replacing that figure of speech with Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
“My advice to the licensing commission is that every time an applicant calls with a, ‘When are we going to be on the agenda?” question to move them to the bottom of the pile,” Schuler said.
Schuler has even advised staff to forward these operators to his cell phone, he said, “so I can have a nice, good conversation about professional courtesy, about respect for people, respect for the process, and the genuine benefits of not acting like petulant children.”
Nine Ohio retail sports betting applicants still in limbo
The commission has not identified any specific applicants who are slowing down the licensing process, but a handful of big-name operators are still in limbo.
The following nine businesses still have not been awarded retail sportsbook licenses despite applying during the appropriate summer window:
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
- Miami Valley Gaming
- Hall of Fame Village
- SPIRE Institute
- Cedar Downs
- Harry Buffalo
- Ravencrest Partners
- Phantom Fireworks
- Lori’s Roadhouse
On Sept. 7, the commission noted that it was not satisfied with the details it received from some applicants regarding ownership details and key employees. Schuler did not elaborate on what information is still outstanding today.
The commission next meets on Oct. 19.
OCCC grants five management service provider licenses
The commission made progress on service provider licenses during the Oct. 5 meeting, licensing the following businesses:
- PointsBet Ohio (one mobile management services provider license)
- Caesars (one management services provider license; two mobile management services provider licenses)
- Betfred Ohio (one mobile management services provider license)
- bet365 (one mobile management services provider license)
- Superbook (one management services provider license; one mobile management services provider license)
That still leaves 12 management service providers and 20 mobile apps awaiting decisions on their applications.