State And Regional

Bengals, FC Cincinnati join Reds in gaining sports betting licenses

CINCINNATI — The Ohio Casino Control Commission has approved sports betting licenses for the Cincinnati Bengals, FC Cincinnati and Belterra Park and 311 licenses for bars, restaurants and retail locations that want to host sports betting kiosks.

>> Cincinnati Reds win conditional approval for sports betting license

At the same time, state officials are bracing for an increase in gambling addiction when Ohio sports betting goes live Jan. 1.

“Ohioans already have a problem with sports gaming,” Matt Schuler, the commission’s executive director, told our news partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. “It likely will increase as it becomes more available, as it becomes more attractive.”

Wednesday, Lori Cross, director of Ohio’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said the agency is working on a statewide telehealth program to make counselors available in all corners of the state. The department also is launching an online portal where people with addiction problems can voluntarily ban themselves from making sports bets.

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Ohio has already seen a 32% increase help-line calls related to sports betting in the last several months, Cross said.

The Cincinnati Bengals explained why the franchise has yet to apply for a license to open a retail sports book. The Bengals are partnering with Betfred on a mobile-phone offering, but told the commission the franchise decided not to seek a brick-and-mortar license because NFL rules do not allow in-person betting inside stadiums, WCPO reported.

FC Cincinnati issued a statement about its partnership with SuperBook Sports, a Las Vegas company.

“The real-time app will include SuperBook’s reliable, famous wagering menu, unique odds boosts and a focus on local and regional teams,” said FCC’s statement. “The partnership will also include an in-person sportsbook experience operated by SuperBook Sports at a retail venue in Cincinnati.”

The team has not said where its brick-and-mortar location will be.

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The new licenses approved by gaming regulators Wednesday brings the total number of kiosk licenses conditionally awarded statewide to 811. That is less than a third of the 2,500 locations state officials projected in March, according to WCPO.

Kiosk licensing is a two-step process in which applicants had to be pre-qualified by the Ohio Lottery Commission before applying to the casino control commission. Nearly 1,400 took that first step, but more than 500 have yet to apply for the actual license, the news station reports.

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