Sports betting is coming to a bar or restaurant near most Ohioans, and Cincinnati leads the state with the most Ohio sports betting kiosk pre-approvals so far.
With sports betting in Ohio set to go live on Jan. 1, 2023, the Ohio Casino Control Commission is currently accepting applications for sportsbook operators during two windows. Businesses looking to host betting kiosks cannot formally apply until the July 15-Aug. 15 window, but the Ohio Lottery has already pre-approved 853 businesses that will qualify.
Update: The Ohio Lottery has pre-approved 1,303 businesses as of Aug. 19.
The options will be robust, ranging from neighborhood bars, local restaurants, gas stations, truck stops and even bowling alleys. Businesses that operate the Ohio Lottery are eligible to apply.
Here’s what the kiosk pre-approval landscape looks like for sports betting in Ohio.
Cincinnati edges Columbus on kiosk pre-approvals
An analysis of Ohio Lottery data on pre-approved kiosk applications through July 8 doesn’t match up with populations. Looking at Ohio’s five largest cities by population, the largest, Columbus, actually has fewer pre-approvals for kiosks than Cincinnati.
- Cincinnati: 61
- Columbus: 56
- Akron: 27
- Cleveland: 24
- Toledo: 21
Cincinnati, the third-largest city in Ohio, has less than 40% of the population of Columbus. Cincinnati’s 45211 ZIP code has the most kiosk pre-approvals in Cincy with seven. The second most pre-approvals are in the 45238 ZIP. Both areas are in Cincinnati’s western suburbs. Establishments in these ZIP codes include:
- A trio of bars on Harrison Avenue in 45211: Second Street Saloon, Gametime Sports Bar & Grill and Skins Place
- Curnayn’s Tavern and Crow’s Nest on West 8th Street in 45238
- The Main Entrance and Wishbone Tavern on Delhi Avenue in 45238
The number of pre-approvals in Akron is interesting when compared to Cleveland, which is nearly twice its size in population.
Ohio suburbs want sports betting kiosks, too
Plenty of businesses outside Ohio’s largest cities are also applying for kiosks. Last week, WCPO in Cincinnati noted that the Fairfield ZIP of 45014 had the most applications for sports betting kiosks of any county in the state. Fairfield is located just north of Cincinnati.
“Fairfield’s largest ZIP code ranks 37th in Ohio with 43,000 residents, according to Demographics.com. But it ranks first in the number of bars and restaurants pre-authorized by the Ohio Lottery Commission to host sports-betting kiosks.”
As of July 8, the Cleveland/Parma area appears to have taken the lead with 12, followed by Fairfield and the Austintown area outside of Youngstown and Columbus’ Hilliard ZIP with 10 pre-approvals each.
- 44134: 12 (Cleveland/Parma)
- 44515: 10 (Austintown/Youngstown)
- 45014: 10 (Fairfield, Hamilton)
- 43026: 10 (Columbus/Hilliard)
- 44107: 9 (Lakewood)
- 44130: 9 (Parma/Parma Heights/Middleburg Heights)
- 43081: 8 (Westerville)
- 43420: 8 (Fremont)
It’s still early in the application process. Over time, the pre-approvals should start to average out a bit. The sprawling Columbus metropolitan area is likely to end up with the most kiosk sites based on its population and reach.
How your local bar or restaurant can get a betting kiosk
Ohio’s sports betting law is pretty straightforward when it comes to securing an Ohio kiosk license.
- Be a licensed lottery sales agent
- Have a valid D1, D2, or D5 liquor permit
- Apply for a Type C sports gaming host license through the Ohio Casino Control Commission
- Pay a non-refundable $1,000 application fee
If you’re not familiar with liquor permits, that process is fairly simple as well. A restaurant or bar needs a D1 license to sell beer on premises. D2 permits are for selling wine, cider, and pre-packaged mixed drinks. D5 permits are for all of these drinks and also spirits.
So, if your local haunt offers beer, wine, seltzers and booze, and is also a licensed lottery sales agent, then they can apply for a sports betting kiosk.
Each business that hosts a kiosk will need to partner with a kiosk operator, which will install the kiosk, train employees, and assist with customer service. Only one operator has applied so far: Elys Game Technology, which is partnered with Ohio-based Wright Bet to operate the kiosks.
Wright Bet is offering to aid local businesses in the application process.
Betting limitations at Ohio kiosks
One important note about kiosks compared to retail and online sportsbooks in Ohio: The types of bets and maximums will be more limited at kiosks, which will only allow four types of bets:
- Money line
- Parlay with a maximum of four components
Each Ohio bettor can only wager up to $700 in each calendar week across all sports betting kiosks.
And even though Ohio Lottery allows Ohioans age 18 and up to participate in other lottery products, the sports betting minimum age is 21.
What’s next for Ohio sports betting kiosk applications?
Ohio’s first sports betting license application window will close on July 15. In order to launch on Jan. 1, all online sportsbooks, retail sportsbooks and operators of betting terminals must submit applications by July 15.
The second application window will run from July 15-Aug. 15. Bars, restaurants and other businesses looking to host a betting kiosk operator may apply during this window.