In many U.S. states, a key question for gamblers is “Where can I make a legal sports bet?”. But in Ohio, a better question is “Where CAN’T I make such a bet?”.
That’s because not only were 771 businesses across the state licensed to begin taking bets at their gambling kiosks as of Jan. 1, 2023, that number is expected to double by mid-summer at the latest.
So if a resident or visitor enters a restaurant, a bar, a gas station, a grocery store, or even a bowling center almost anywhere in the state, they are liable to notice a kiosk with a betting option that has been approved by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
The state’s larger cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, and Toledo each have – or soon will have – at least two dozen businesses in town with betting kiosks.
Among the colorfully-named establishments in Cincinnati approved for kiosk sports bets are New Stumble Inn, Just One More, McDog’s Lakeside Saloon, O’Malley’s In The Alley, and Joey’s Roadhouse.
Players can’t wager more than $700 per week
All that said, there are significant limits to the kiosk system that gamblers should keep in mind. For instance, a bettor can’t wager more than $700 in a given week, and betting is limited by state regulations to point spreads; over/under total points lines; moneylines; and parlays with up to only four segments.
So if you want to do “player props,” make in-game wagers, or try out a 10- or 12-leg parlay, you’ll have to sign up for a mobile app on your smartphone or visit a casino or racetrack.
Those limitations underscore the fact that kiosks are designed for casual, lower-stakes players who might decide to switch off from their usual purchase of a ticket at an electronic lottery machine.
Many betting kiosks are yet to launch
Also, the Jan. 1 opening date hasn’t at all meant that all such kiosks launched that day. Intralot, the largest supplier with the right to open at more than 700 locations, began offering such betting at only a limited number of sites in the first two weeks of 2023, but company officials say that number increased greatly – by hundreds – in the second half of the month under the company’s SportsBet Ohio brand.
That timing proved fortuitous since the Cincinnati Bengals faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game on Jan. 29. (Not so fortuitous for local fans, however, since the Bengals neither won the game nor covered the point spread.)
The Intralot machines also will feature an option to purchase lottery tickets. Of the approved operators, it appears that only UBetOhio – which only manages 24 kiosks – had all of its machines up and running on New Year’s Day.
Other operators include BetIGG, BetSkybox, Gold Rush Sports Betting, Elys Game Technology, and Wright Bet Venture. The latter two companies are expected to launch last, perhaps not even before the next football season in the fall. A number of large grocery store chains, including Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Acme, are in the process of unveiling their kiosks at some point this year.
For winning bets under $600, those can be cashed out at thousands of lottery retailers in the state – in some cases, including even at sites that don’t have betting kiosks. Any payout of $600 or more is subject to taxes at the federal and state level, so lucky gamblers should check with the Ohio Lottery or at a local casino for details. Information is posted regularly on the official website of the Ohio Lottery.
The Ohio betting law is unusual in that not only did some kiosks launch on Jan. 1, but that also was the date for all sports betting legalization. That includes more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks, including familiar names like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars.
Visitors to the state’s four casinos – in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo – as well as at the seven “racinos” without live-dealer table games also could add a legal sports bet to their gambling options as of Jan. 1. Several of Ohio’s seven thoroughbred and standardbred racetracks also have been rolling out legal sports bets as part of their offerings in the opening weeks of this new era for Ohio gambling.