Sports betting in Ohio won’t be ready for another 40 days.

However, starting Wednesday, sports fans in the Cleveland area can check out two of the retail sportsbooks that plan to open on Jan. 1.

JACK Entertainment announced Tuesday that its betJACK Sportsbooks will open Wednesday at JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino. The similarly designed brick-and-mortar venues feature an array of seating options, from bartop seats to theater-style recliners. For the next few weeks, patrons will be able to watch major sporting events from the facilities. That includes this weekend’s Ohio State-Michigan college football game.

At the Cleveland casino, the sportsbook also features a 12-seat video poker bar and a 9-table gaming pit.

When sports betting comes online, both venues will have ticket writers at stations, as well as self-serve kiosks.

JACK Entertainment President Brian Eby said he believes the company’s sportsbooks “will set the standard” for sports betting in Ohio.

We are excited to debut our state-of-the-art sportsbooks, which will offer unparalleled experiences to Northeast Ohio and quickly will become fan-favorite destinations to watch all the action,” Eby said. “We owe it to our fellow Ohio sports fans to deliver something great, and we are confident they will not be disappointed.”

The opening of the sportsbooks marks the culmination of a $100 million investment the Cleveland-based gaming and entertainment company made in its casino and Thistledown.

Online App Offering Free Play Now
Besides the retail books, betJACK will also operate an online platform.

The app and website are currently available in what JACK Entertainment calls a “training camp,” or free play mode. In the ramp-up to the Jan. 1, the betJACK site is offering such promotions as drawings for a $500 gift card, tickets to the Dec. 6 Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Lakers game, and tickets to the Dec. 10 “Crosstown Shootout,” the annual college basketball game between Xavier and Cincinnati.

Shape Games, acquired by Kambi Group in September, developed the online platform.

Busy Weeks Ahead
JACK’s sportsbooks and app won’t be the only ones planning to launch in Ohio come New Year’s Day.

It’s uncertain exactly just how many retail sportsbooks and online sites will launch (and don’t forget about the kiosks, too). But the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has been busy working to review and approve licenses for the proprietors and their online components.

As of the most recent OCCC meeting last Wednesday, JACK Cleveland and Thistledown are among the 22 Type A proprietors conditionally approved to host online sportsbooks. The JACK properties are also two of the 21 proprietors conditionally approved to host a retail sportsbook.

The OCCC has also conditionally approved 16 online sports betting operators. Officials have also preliminarily approved 10 retail operators that plan to run 17 sportsbooks across the state.

BetJACK is one of the approved operators. JACK Cleveland also has a partnership in place with PlayUp, which is still awaiting approval. MaximBet was also supposed to be a partner with JACK Cleveland, but the Carousel Group brand announced last week it was shutting down operations.

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