11 Ohio Sports Betting Operators Approved; Pete Rose Back in News with Hard Rock

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Ohio today approved five more mobile sportsbooks for the state’s universal launch next year. That brings to 12 the number of mobile sports betting apps slated to go live in the Buckeye State on Jan. 1.

Also approved by the Ohio Casino Control Commission today were six more retail sportsbooks, bringing the total number of retail sportsbooks approved for the state’s New Year’s Day launch to 15. 

Which Sportsbooks Were Approved for Ohio Sports Betting

Mobile sportsbooks approved by the OCC today and their corporate partners include the following: 

  • BetMGM – MGM Northfield Park
  • DraftKings – Hollywood Casino Toledo
  • Hard Rock Digital – Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
  • Tipico Ohio – Crew SC Stadium Company
  • BetRivers – Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway

Retail sportsbooks approved by the OCCC today include: 

  • MGM Northfield Park – BetMGM
  • Cincinnati Reds – BetMGM
  • Cedar Down OTB – BetMGM
  • Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati – Hard Rock Digital
  • Crew SC Stadium Company – Tipico
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Village – BetRivers

Also read: Jake Paul’s Betr Also in Ring with Hall of Fame Village

More mobile and retail sportsbooks could join the approved list for Ohio sports betting. The OCCC plans to meet through Dec. 15 to sign off on more applicants, said OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler – although not everyone approved after today will necessarily make the Jan. 1 start date, given the time constraints.  

“So anyone who isn’t 100 percent complete today. It doesn’t necessarily prohibit the commission from accepting their submissions,” said Schuler. “However, there’s no guarantee that (they will make) the universal start date.” 

Pete Rose To Place First Bet at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati

Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is expected to add some Ohio sports history – and a bit of irony – to its sportsbook launch on Jan. 1 by having former Cincinnati Reds manager and player Pete Rose make the first bet. 

Pete Rose, ohio sports betting, hard rock
Former Red Pete Rose tabbed by Hard Rock to make first wager when Ohio sports betting goes live (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Rose, also known by his nickname “Charlie Hustle,” was notoriously banned from baseball in 1989 amid reports that he bet on the sport while he was with the Reds. Rose later admitted publicly  during a book tour in 2004 that he did indeed bet on baseball, including games he had managed.

The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati – which is also launching a mobile app – plans to go live the moment the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, according to Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV.  The casino’s sportsbook lounge will be located next to Hard Rock Cafe and will feature 33 betting kiosks and betting windows. 

Conditional Approval for Jan. 1 Launch

All approval granted to sportsbooks by the OCCC to date is conditional. That means the sportsbooks can launch on Jan. 1 as long as they have their betting systems checked and approved by state regulators as of Dec. 2, Schuler said today.

OCCC staff will test all systems, both retail and mobile, over the next month to make sure they are ready to go by Jan. 1. 

“So all Type A and B proprietors (mobile and retail sportsbook corporate partners) and service providers (sportsbooks) must have their already lab-tested equipment and commission-approved sports wagering equipment installed and ready for equipment verification by Dec. 2,” he said.

The “proprietors” are the stadiums, casinos, golf clubs, or entertainment venues that must also be licensed to operate sports betting. As of today, the number of approved mobile proprietors totals 21 out of 23 who have applied. The number of approved retail proprietors totals 20 out of 27 applicants.

Sports Betting Kiosk Approval on Fast Track

Additionally, the OCCC approved seven more sports betting kiosk hosts today, bringing the total number of kiosk locations approved to date to 880. 

That is a lot of kiosks. But the number approved is far below the nearly 1,400 host applicants that have been recommended for a kiosk license by the Ohio Lottery, which will regulate the kiosks. 

The OCCC today agreed to give Schuler the authority to issue licenses to kiosk locations as applications roll into the commission. That will allow more kiosks to start operations by the universal start date of Jan. 1, commission staff said. 

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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