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Ohio businesses prepare for sports betting; nearly 1,500 sports gaming hosts approved

Jan. 1, 2023 is a date casinos, bars, restaurants and sportsbooks have had circled since the passing of Ohio House Bill 29.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On New Year’s Day, sporting events are going to have more riding on the game as sports gambling will officially be legal in Ohio.

Jan. 1, 2023 is a date casinos, bars, restaurants and sportsbooks have had circled since the passage of Ohio House Bill 29.

Many major sports gambling websites have pumped money into social media and television advertising to try to get Ohioans to place their first bet with them.

The Ohio Lottery Commission is in charge of regulating and approving Type-C Sports Gaming Host applications. Since the process began, 1,499 establishments in Ohio have preliminary approval.

Varsity Club jumped on the chance to put a sports gaming kiosk inside. 

General Manager Tony Mollica says the application fee was $1,000. Mollica is hoping on game-day, fans will be able to place a bet while seeing the Ohio Stadium outside its front window.

“You can imagine when you have 100,000 people across the street that will get thousands of people coming through here,” said Mollica. “I think it'll be fun. I think it'll add to the atmosphere here.”

Varsity Club already has the lottery, Keno and ATMs at the location.

“I don't see how we have anything to lose. We're adding a feature for all of our customers. And I think it'll just be an add-on for us," said Mollica. “I think there's something nostalgic about placing a bet getting a ticket, and then cashing it.”

RELATED: Legal sports betting hits Ohio in January. Businesses are counting down the days.

Hardcore sports radio listeners might hear different coverage in Ohio on Jan. 1. 10TV’s radio partner 97.1 The Fan is incorporating spreads into each show.

Anthony Rothman, the host of Rothman and Ice, weekdays from noon to 3 p.m., said they have been preparing all shows at The Fan for a year.

“What we haven't been doing before is actually aligning ourselves with a sports book, because legally, we couldn't do it. Now we can,” said Rothman. “Every show on the fan will be affiliated with a different sports book that will be touting what they offer their different parlays their different booths, what the odds are on this gambling site.”

Rothmans said new sports gamblers will be able to pick up the terminology and strategies when they tune in.

“We like to cook up bets, that if you made them, what would that equal? And we'd like to do it with teams that people follo, because I think people want us to do their homework for them.” said Rothman. “If you put $10 on the Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bengals to win their respective championships, and that pays five and a half to one. 

"I think people find that interesting. And that may pull them in. Now, I'm not trying to pull people in, but by giving them that information, it could be incentivizing them… you know what, that's a bet I would make and now they can actually make it.”

The new format at The Fan starts on the first of the year.

Where sports gambling revenue will go in Ohio

According to House Bill 29, tens of millions of dollars are expected to be raised.

Ohio's Department of Taxation says 98% of the net revenue will go to funding for interscholastic athletics, other extracurricular activities for children and problem gambling resources. The remaining 2% is dedicated to additional problem gambling support.

If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, call 800-589-9966, or visit the Resources for Problem Gamblers website.

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