State gaming regulators reviewing sports betting license applications

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Several businesses — from Ohio’s professional sports teams to a fireworks company — have applied to be license holders for legal sports betting, which is set to begin January 1, 2023.

A person holds a cell phone with a mobile betting app ad on the screen.
[Daniel Konik | Statehouse News Bureau]
Twenty-two entities applied to be the proprietors of sports betting online and on mobile devices.

That included all of Ohio’s pro sports teams; Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, and FC Cincinnati. Ohio’s four casinos have also applied for the Type A license, along with the Muirfield Village Golf Club and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The applicants list their mobile betting partners which includes betMGM, Barstool, and Draft Kings.

There are 25 Type B license applicants to create in-person sports betting facilities, those also include the casinos, most of the pro sports teams and other companies like Phantom Fireworks in Youngstown.

Jessica Franks, director of communications for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said their compliance officers are closely reviewing the applications and the public should feel confident about the upcoming sports betting system.

“Much like we do with all of the other forms of gaming that the commission oversees, we want to make sure that it’s being done with the absolute utmost integrity and honesty so that the patrons can feel confident that the websites they’re using — or when they go into a physical sports book — that the all of those things are being done in accordance with all of the rules and regulations that have been laid out,” said Franks.

When Ohio lawmakers approved the bill to legalize sports betting, a main goal was to ensure all of the license holders can begin offering sports betting at the same time. That would include Type C licenses for businesses — with a liquor permit — that want to put sports betting kiosks in their facility.

“The legislature wanted everybody to start on the same day, at the same time, so that the playing field was even for everyone,” said Franks.

So far, there are more than 100 liquor permit holders that have applied to put sports betting kiosks in their bars and restaurants.

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