BetMGM Sportsbook Moving From Reds Ballpark to Nearby Location

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One of only five sportsbooks inside a pro sports venue will relocate.

BetMGM announced this week that its retail sportsbook inside Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati will move to the nearby corner of Second Street and Joe Nuxhall Way in the area formerly occupied by Galla Park.

According to a release: “The new sportsbook will feature a restaurant open to all ages, along with a sportsbook open to patrons 21 and older. Patrons will have access to several betting windows, along with self-service kiosks surrounded by televisions playing live sports action. Additionally, the book will be open on non-game days.”

The current sportsbook in the Machine Room at Great American Ball Park will remain open throughout the fall, according to BetMGM.

Reds chief financial officer Doug Healy speculated about building a sportsbook on the Galla site two years ago, telling state lawmakers in 2021:

Our vision would be, assuming we have access to the Type A license, we would partner with a sportsbook operator who would set up some form of a retail location situated down there on the Banks. A retail presence on that riverfront could be an economic driver that helps generate foot traffic, which further supports these businesses and these restaurants as they continue to recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19.”

The Reds don’t currently have an active online sports betting partner. BetMGM offers mobile sports betting in Ohio through the MGM Northfield Park racino.

 

The Machine Room sportsbook seems unlikely to be missed. It has been routinely pummeled in Google reviews, albeit scoring a 4.0 overall, with patrons upset over most things a sportsbook is supposed to provide: betting experience, food, beverages, and service. Also, per MLB rules, the book is not accessible once inside the ballpark.

BetMGM Retail Book a Big Red Money-Losing Machine

The BetMGM sportsbook is becoming a big red-ink machine. It’s the only one of 14 retail books in Ohio not only to fail to generate revenue, but post a loss. Through April, the $604,290 in wagers placed there is second-worst in that group since sports betting launched in the state on Jan. 1. BetMGM has paid out $608,158 in winnings and voided $4,157 worth of bets, resulting in a net loss of $8,025.

BetMGM ranked third among Ohio online sports betting platforms in April with $38.1 million handled, but was far out-paced by FanDuel ($184.6 million) and DraftKings ($161.3 million).

Machine Room Will Have Its Place in Gambling Lore

Perhaps the Machine Room’s lasting legacy will be its place in Ohio’s first gambling scandal — and regulatory triumph — in the era of legal sports betting.

According to multiple reports, the suspicious bets made on an LSU-Alabama baseball game that led to the firing of Crimson Tide head coach Brad Bohannon were placed in the Machine Room after the bettor spoke with the coach by phone. Two University of Cincinnati coaches were also fired for not disclosing that the bettor and, allegedly, father of a Bearcats baseball player, made illegal contact with Bohannon.

“Everybody involved did the right thing,” Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission told WCPO. “Everybody involved did exactly what they were trained to do and they did it thoroughly and they did it promptly.”

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats, once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr., and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella yelled at him numerous times. In covering the sports betting industry, he's looking for what and who are next and why.

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