CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Lottery released a list of businesses that could be approved for sports betting machines starting next year. The list includes dozens of businesses in the Miami Valley.
Geez Grill & Pub Manager Mario Giallombardo said as soon as they heard sports betting will be legal in Ohio, they immediately knew they wanted to be part of it. Now they’re one step closer to getting a kiosk in their restaurant.
“Our customers are really going to be happy about it,” Giallombardo said.
Giallombardo said he believes having sports betting will keep people in local restaurants longer and bring in more revenue for those businesses.
“People come out to eat for entertainment,” Giallombardo said. “The opportunity to bet on your favorite team just makes you have an even better time than you having, and you might win some money and maybe you buy a couple of drinks for your friends.”
The Ohio Lottery released this list of every Ohio establishment pre-qualified for sports betting. Nearly 50 of those are in the Miami Valley. The full list of bars, restaurants and businesses can be found here.
Pre-qualification does not mean the businesses will get approved for a license. The recommendations will go to the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC), which is in charge of regulating sports betting.
Under Ohio’s sports gambling law, the OCCC will allow licensed lottery establishments with liquor permits to apply for a sports gambling license. If approved, customers will be able to place bets on collegiate, professional and Olympic sporting events.
Geez server Tyler said he already participates in sports betting where he can, Ohio allowing it in bars and restaurants will make it even easier.
“I have to go to further lengths to do it, sometimes outside of the state,” Tyler said. “So I’m excited about the convenience of it. A lot of my friends enjoy it, so I’m excited about a lot of the camaraderie that’s going to be a part of that.”
Long-time Geez customer Bob Crawford said even though he doesn’t plan to place sports bets often, he still sees it as a benefit for the business.
“If you could go to a local casino here in the state and put a bet down, I see no reason why he can’t go to a local establishment,” Crawford said. “I’m big on supporting local businesses, so if it’s an add on, I don’t see any problem whatsoever.”
Giallombardo said having the betting kiosks will likely be a draw on big game days.
“Instead of watching it at home, you can come to Geez and place some bets,” Giallombardo said.
Sports betting will launch in Ohio on January 1. It will also be available at retail sportsbooks and on mobile apps.