DraftKings, JACK Entertainment Latest to Seek Ohio Sports Betting Licenses

The number of companies that have submitted their sports betting license applications in Ohio is now up to five.

The “Cincinnati” sign outside the Duke Energy Convention Center in the Ohio city was lit up in orange in late January to honor the hometown Bengals playoff run. On Friday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission updated its list of applicants for sports betting licenses. (Image: Cincinnati Refined/Facebook)

On Friday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission reported that DraftKings submitted its license application to serve as a mobile management services provider in the state. The Boston-based company does not have a proprietor partner yet, but in 2019, DraftKings was one of the operators that signed a megadeal with Penn National Gaming for market access in several states. That included Ohio, where Penn operates two casinos and two racinos.

In addition, JACK Cleveland and JACK Thisteldown also applied for their licenses earlier this week. The sister properties from JACK Entertainment, a full-fledged casino in Cleveland and a racino with slot-like video lottery terminals 10 miles east in North Randall, seek both a Type A online proprietor and Type B retail proprietor licenses.

In April, JACK announced the creation of its betJACK online platform, developed with Shape Games. It currently operates as a free-to-play game, but it’s also seeking a management services provider license in the state.

BetMGM, PointsBet First In

Those companies joined BetMGM and PointsBet, which submitted their applications shortly after the June 15 window opened. Companies seeking to serve as retail or online proprietors and operators seeking to offer either in-person or online wagering have until July 15 to submit their applications.

Starting on July 15, applications will start being accepted for bars and other state-licensed by-the-drink establishments that want sports betting kiosks, the Type C license, in their venues. Proprietors that also want a second partner can also submit their application for those licenses during that window, through Aug. 15.

Sports betting in Ohio cannot start until Jan. 1.

The OCCC will continue to accept license applications after the respective July 15 and Aug. 15 deadlines. However, proprietors and operators that fail to submit their applications on a timely basis run the risk of not being able to start on that date.

Ohio’s Sports Betting Licensing Structure

Under the legislation that Ohio lawmakers passed late last year, up to 25 online sports betting operators and 40 retail sportsbooks will be able to get licensed in the state. The retail sportsbooks will be limited to the counties with either the largest populations or in a county of at least 50,000 residents that welcomed at least 5 million tourists in the most recent calendar year.

Entities eligible for a proprietor’s license include major professional sports teams, Muirfield Village Golf Club (which hosts The Memorial PGA Tour tournament), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (which hosts a NASCAR event), the four OCCC-licensed commercial casinos, and the seven racinos licensed by the Ohio Lottery. Proprietors are allowed to partner with up to two service providers, or sportsbooks.

There will be no limit on the number of establishments that get approved to host kiosks, but the OCCC can approve up to 20 kiosk operators.

Licensing fees will vary. Sports teams and venues will pay $1 million for a license with one online provider and $3.3 million to partner with two providers. Casinos and racinos will pay $1.5 million for one online partner and $5 million to partner with two.

Online providers who partner with one team will pay $2 million for a license and $6.7 million if they partner with a second team or venue. Online providers partnering with a casino or racino will pay $1.5 million for a license or $5 million if they partner with two entities.

While the licensing structure is somewhat convoluted, the tax rate for Ohio sports betting isn’t. All providers will be taxed at 10 percent of gross gaming revenue.

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