Columbus, Cincinnati Top Ohio Cities in Race For Sports Betting Kiosks

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Two Ohio cities could be home to 12 percent or more of Ohio’s sports betting kiosks at launch, depending on upcoming licensing decisions by state regulators. 

Businesses in Columbus and Cincinnati make up 168 of 1,324 businesses – or 12.6 percent of all kiosk “host” locations – pre-approved for sports betting kiosk licensing by the Ohio Lottery to date. The two cities outrank other major Ohio cities, including Cleveland and Toledo, in the number of sports betting kiosk locations pre-approved by the Ohio Lottery so far. 

Pre-approval does not ensure a business will be assigned a kiosk. It is a recommendation, with final licensing decisions made by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, or OCCC. Oversight of the kiosks will be handled by the Ohio Lottery. 

At least 200 businesses, including bars, golf courses, bowling alleys, and grocery stores, were awarded kiosk licenses by the OCCC on Aug. 17, with more kiosks expected to be licensed in the near future. 

Cleveland Pre-Approved for 31 Kiosks To Date

Columbus is Ohio’s largest city in population, according to the latest census figures. Cincinnati is the state’s third-largest city in population. Both cities are home to professional sports franchises and college teams that are major draws for local restaurants and sports bars. 

Cleveland, a professional sports city that ranks ahead of Cincinnati in population per the latest census, has been pre-approved for 31 kiosks so far. Cincinnati has been pre-approved for 79. 

Ohio Sports Betting Kiosks By City

CityKiosks (out of 1,324)
Columbus89
Cincinnati79
Akron37
Toledo32
Cleveland31
Dayton22
Parma22
Canton22

But Cleveland has time to catch up with its state rival. The Ohio Lottery is adding more businesses to its list of pre-approved kiosk locations each week. At least two additional Cleveland businesses have been pre-approved by the lottery since Aug. 12, according to the list. 

Ohio’s Top Eight Cities In Line For 25 Percent of Sports Betting Kiosks

Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland are three of the eight largest cities in Ohio. The other five are Dayton, Canton, Toledo, Parma, and Akron. All are expected to be hotspots for both in-person and online sports betting in Ohio

Over 25 percent of the businesses pre-approved for lottery sports betting kiosks to date — or 334 — are located in those eight cities alone.  Most businesses statewide are still waiting for final licensing approval from the OCCC.

Also waiting on regulatory approval are retail and online sports betting licenses for Ohio professional sports stadiums and casinos, with up to 40 mobile licenses available. All Ohio sports betting locations – stadiums, casinos, online, and kiosks – can launch on Jan. 1, 2023 under state law. The reason for a universal start date is explained by the OCCC on its website: 

“The Commission is aware that some stakeholders, specifically many online operators, have fewer preparations to make leading up to launch and could start sooner,” the OCCC website says. “However, pursuant to HB 29, all forms of sports gaming must have the opportunity to launch on the exact same date.

“January 1 will represent the largest expansion of gaming in Ohio’s history and the largest ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the United States. According to industry estimates, this will necessitate detailed due diligence investigations, as well as comprehensive compliance examinations, of approximately 3,000 licensees ahead of January 1.”

Ohio sports betting was legalized in Dec. 2021 with the passage and signing of 2022 House Bill 29

Photo by: Paul Brady Photography

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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