Local racinos apply to start sports gambling Jan. 1

Industry analyst says both should be approved, and Dayton site could get large, stadium-themed sports bar like chain’s Indiana casino

Two local racinos have submitted applications in time to possibly launch sports gambling at the beginning of next year.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Miami Valley Gaming and Racing, in Warren County, both submitted applications to the Ohio Casino Control Commission on or before July 15. Both businesses applied to provide online and retail sports betting options.

Legal sports gambling will begin in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023. The casino control commission is in the process of creating rules, applications, forms and other essentials to launch sports betting.

Companies had a window between June 15 and July 15 to apply for sports gambling licenses and be guaranteed consideration before Jan. 1. Businesses that didn’t submit an application in the window are still eligible to apply, but are not guaranteed consideration in time for the launch date.

A representative of Miami Valley Gaming declined to share details of the group’s sports gambling plans, saying they had not yet discussed specifics with the Casino Control Commission or the Ohio Lottery Commission. A message for Hollywood Gaming Dayton wasn’t returned.

The two racinos are likely to get approval, said Danny Cross, managing editor at PlayOhio, part of a network that covers and analyzes the legal gaming industry.

“It’s safe to say that Hollywood Dayton and Miami Valley Gaming have been waiting for Ohio to legalize sports betting for a long time,” Cross said. “It would be a total shock if both aren’t fully licensed and operational once Jan. 1, 2023 gets here. They are natural fits to operate both retail and online sports books and should see a nice boost in revenue from the industry.”

As racinos, Cross said they are familiar with most regulations and technology the state is licensing. Hollywood Gaming Dayton is owned by Penn National Gaming, while Miami Valley Gaming is owned by Delaware North. Both companies are experienced with sports betting in other states, Cross said.

Hollywood Gaming Dayton’s service provider will be Barstool Sportsbook, the casino control commission public information says. A service provider isn’t listed for Miami Valley Gaming.

“It’s no surprise that Hollywood Dayton will add a Barstool Sportsbook retail space and utilize the Barstool Sportsbook app,” Cross said. “Penn National Gaming has been rolling out the retail spaces in many of its properties since buying into the brand in 2020. The Barstool app is already live in all five neighboring states with legal sports betting. The retail location will probably be a lot like what you see at Hollywood Lawrenceburg — a big, stadium-themed sports bar with tons of TVs with a betting window and self-service kiosks.”

The racinos will have to give the control commission details about their facility, geolocation procedures, responsible gaming plans and other rules they will have in place before being approved, Cross said.

“All sports gaming equipment must be tested and reviewed, and even the businesses’ integrity monitors have to be certified,” Cross said. “There are formal guidelines for everything from signage to surveillance.”

The state estimates that regulated sports betting will be a $1 billion industry in Ohio in its first year or so of operation, growing to $3.35 billion within a few years. Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling four years ago cleared the way for all 50 states to legalize sports gambling, Americans have bet more than $125 billion on sports.

The racinos won’t be the only places a person can bet on sports here. Nearly 50 area restaurants and bars were pre-approved by the Ohio Lottery to have kiosks in their establishments. The window for them to get approval from the casino commission opened July 15.

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