Ohio brick-and-mortar sportsbook competition is heating up
As applications for Ohio sports betting licenses continue to pour into the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the competition for brick-and-mortar retail sportsbooks is becoming more clear throughout each of the state’s counties.
The finalized Ohio sports betting bill contains strict Type B license restrictions. Hoping to ensure a fair mix of retail opportunities for each Ohio county, license numbers were based on 2010 federal census population totals. When the bill was signed into law, it included this Type B license breakdown for counties:
- An Ohio county with a population of 800,000 or more may have a maximum five Type B licenses, up from three in the original bill.
- A county with 400,000 to 799,999 may have a maximum of three Type B licenses.
- A county with less than 400,000 may have one Type B license.
Currently, 24 entities have applied for a Type B license, and the way things are shaping up several may be forced out of the retail sports betting market purely from a numbers standpoint.
We’ll take a look county-by-county to determine where the most competition will likely be taking place. For a complete list of all license applications, check here.
Competition evident in most populous Ohio counties
Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, and Hamilton County were the only three counties in the state to qualify for the five Type B license max, and as expected interest in these locations has been high.
Cuyahoga County has received the most interest, as seven entities submitted Type B license applications. They are as follows, with their online sports betting operator partners in parenthesis:
- Jack Cleveland Casino (betJACK)
- Jack Cleveland Racino (betJACK)
- Cleveland Browns (Bally’s Interactive)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (William Hill)
- Cleveland Guardians (Fanatics)
- Ravencrest Partners LLC (no partner listed)
- Harry Buffalo (no partner listed)
One casino, one racino, three professional sports franchises, a mystery business, and a bar. Sad to say for Ravencrest Partners (which nobody seems to know anything about) and Harry Buffalo, a sports bar, but their journey for a Type B sports betting license will likely stop here.
Both Franklin County and Hamilton County had four entities each apply for a Type B license. Here are the Franklin County entities that applied for a license:
- Scioto Downs (William Hill)
- Columbus Blue Jackets (Fanatics)
- Muirfield Village Golf (Parx Interactive)
- Hollywood Casino Columbus (Barstool Sportsbook)
Two casinos, a professional hockey team, and a country club. Of these four, it seems as if Muirfield Village Golf would be the only entity running the risk of not receiving a license, and even that seems like a longshot.
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As for Hamilton County:
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (Hard Rock Digital)
- Cincinnati Reds (BetMGM)
- PNK LLC aka Belterra Park Cincinnati Casino (No partner listed)
- FC Cincinnati (SuperBook)
Two casinos, two professional sports franchises. All four stand a good chance of receiving a license.
Less competition elsewhere in Ohio
The remaining counties have far less competition. Three counties, Montgomery, Lucas, and Summit, are all eligible for three Type B licenses and all have just one entity from each that applied for a license so far.
Here is the applicant for Summit County:
- MGM Northfield Park Casino (BetMGM)
Here is the applicant for Montgomery County:
- Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway (Barstool Sportsbook)
Here is the applicant for Lucas County:
- Hollywood Casino Toledo (Barstool Sportsbook)
Two casinos and a raceway, all with well known online sports betting operator partners. All three applicants in all three counties stand a good chance of receiving a Type B license.
Smallest Ohio counties may have biggest competition
Ohio counties eligible for just one Type B license may find the most competition. Based on population, Mahoning County should only qualify for one Type B license, but a provision in the sports betting bill allows for counties with 100,000 to 399,999 residents to have two Type B licenses if a racino is located in the county. Here are the Mahoning County applicants:
- Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Phantom Fireworks (no partner)
Hollywood Gaming will likely receive a license and it will be very interesting to see how the Ohio Casino Control Commission handles Phantom Fireworks, a retail fireworks business located in Youngstown, request for a license.
Several counties eligible for just one license already have their application quota filled. If additional license applications come in for these counties, the Ohio Casino Control Commission will have a harder decision to make.
Here is the applicant for Stark County:
- Hall of Fame Village aka the Professional Football Hall of Fame (BetRivers)
Here is the applicant for Ashtabula County:
- SPIRE Institute (Out the Gate, Inc.)
Here is the applicant for Erie County:
- Cedar Downs OTB (BetMGM)
Here is the applicant for Warren County:
- Miami Valley Gaming and Racing (No partner)
Most of the applicants seem fairly typical, but one has raised some eyebrows. The SPIRE Institute in Ashtabula County is a 750,000-square-foot campus catering to youth athletes, which brands itself as a way for elite athletes to learn and train at their facility, seems to be an outsider in terms of the applicants looking for a Type B license.
Rachel Winder, an advisor for SPIRE Institute, told Saturday Tradition that if the organization is granted a license, all gaming operations will be strictly off campus, independently operated, separate from the athletic facility and properly secured.
“SPIRE will be diligently compliant with the duties and responsibilities set forth by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and the SPIRE team is committed to working with their proposed management services provider, Out the Gate, to ensure legal and regulatory compliance.”
Additional Type B license applications can still be submitted to the control commission, but they run the risk of not being eligible to launch on Jan. 1, 2023.