Some Ohio Sports Betting Kiosks Won't be Open in Time for January 1 Launch

Some Ohio Sports Betting Kiosks Won't be Open in Time for January 1 Launch

When legal sports betting in Ohio launches on January 1, the list of places at which you can submit wagers will be incomplete. Due to some 11th-hour complications, some Ohio sports betting kiosks won't be up and running in time for the New Year.

This setback does not impact all sports betting kiosks. Pretty much all of the major venues—casino sportsbooks and professional sports stadiums—are expected to have their machines operational for the January 1 launch date. The delay is mostly impacting the Kroger company, which is a large-scale grocery store chain that's incredibly popular throughout the midwest of the United States.

The cause of this problem isn't immediately clear. However, there are some musings floating around, which we will get into momentarily. But if this is the biggest wrinkle the Ohio legal sports betting rollout faces, the state will welcome it. Other regions throughout the United States have encountered more intense delays and issues.

Still, the absence of Ohio sports betting kiosks that were set to be installed in a staple supermarket speaks to the uncharted territory the Sooner State is entering.

Why Won't Kroger Have Their Ohio Sports Betting Kiosks Ready for Launch?

According to the Cincinnati Business Journal, Kroger might be facing a supply issue with the scheduled arrival of their Ohio sports betting kiosks. The state approved over 2,500 kiosks for use throughout the region. We don't know how many of those are earmarked for Kroger, but the company has 196 locations scattered throughout Ohio.

If the supermarket chain planned to launch all of their betting kiosks in tandem, even the tiniest delay can have huge ramifications. Though Kroger has experience with the machines in other areas, this is a first for the Sooner State. It makes sense to launch all of the sports betting kiosks at the same time. This is the best way to troubleshoot any system issues, as many experts have noted.

Many have wondered why Kroger wouldn't just install and operate the kiosks already in their possession. It's a fair question. But it's important to remember that businesses such as Kroger aren't trying to use the sports betting market as a primary source of income. They use Ohio sports betting kiosks with the hope of drumming up general foot traffic inside their stores. 

Think of it like the Ohio state lottery. Companies aren't making a boatload of money off every lottery ticket they sell. They get a small cut for conducting the service. Really, they only sell lottery tickets out of convenience, in hopes that it will convince people to visit their stores and buy other products.

This is the end goal fro Kroger with their sports betting kiosks. And it's why they aren't in any rush to launch their own gambling services.

Will Any Other Ohio Sports Betting Kiosks be Delayed?

So far, it seems only Kroger is facing any supply issues with their sports betting kiosks. All of the sports teams throughout Ohio that are slated to have them installed are reportedly on schedule. Smaller businesses, meanwhile, needed to go through a more rigorous approval process to get an Ohio sports betting kiosk. More than anything, the state wanted to ensure they had the cash flow necessary to handle any impromptu payouts. The higher bar for inclusion all but ensures bars and the like will have their kiosks ready for opening day.

Still, the Kroger delay will be felt in certain areas. In fact, two of Ohio's biggest cities may feel the ramifications: Cincinnati and Cleveland. Since the NFL has their own sports betting deals as a league, the Browns and Bengals were not eligible for retail sports betting licenses. As a result, they won't have any on-site sportsbooks or betting kiosks inside their stadiums. Given that both venues serve as hubs for Cleveland and Cincinnati, this made Kroger betting kiosks not just convenient, but arguably critical. 

Ohioans in the Cleveland and Cincinnati area will instead have to visit casinos or use the state directory to find the sports betting kiosk nearest to them. They can also just sign up with one of the best online sportsbooks, since the Ohio gaming compact allows for legal online sports betting.

Should Ohio Brace for Any More Sports Betting Setbacks?

The following age-old adage applies here: Expect the worst, but hope for the best.

Until now, the Ohio legal sports betting process has mostly gone off without a hitch. Sportsbook promotions have come in lower than expected because of how much companies have lost offering lucrative bonuses in other states, but that's the biggest issue currently facing the state. A limited supply of sports betting kiosks is a distant second. What's more, Kroger expects to have their Ohio sports betting kiosks ready by February.

Ohio sports betting seems to be in tip-top shape from where we're standing. Granted, there's still weeks to go before the state-wide launch. But this is far from a disaster scenario when looking at other struggles.

Massachusetts has legalized sports betting but still hasn't determined a rollout date. Florida legalized sports betting in 2021 only to repeal it and continues to settle the matter through intense litigation. Both of California's sports betting proposals were voted down during the 2022 elections. And this is just to name a few. Plenty of more setbacks are peppered throughout the USA.

Relative to other states, Ohio has it pretty good so far. Legal sports betting is on track to launch in all forms by January 1. That's all that matters. Any issues that don't push back that plan aren't, in fact, issues at all.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that meets all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan is a sports betting writer who can tackle any topic from presidential elections to changes in the sports betting legislation federally and on the state level. He also writes picks for NFL.