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Ohioans have taken advantage of the first days of legal sports betting across the state after an array of operators began to offer the activity at the turn of the new year.

Following months of preparation and anticipation, as well as a number of twists and turns ahead of the big day, the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2023, saw locals cleared to legally wager.

One of those to debut was Hard Rock International, whose mobile sportsbook grew to an extra state, while a retail offering also debuted as part of a “landmark day”.

Hard Rock Sportsbook officially opened at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, which is located inside the Hard Rock Cafe, and saw former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose make the first bet via a $100 wager on the team to win the 2023 World Series.

Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati has added more than 150 TVs, 33 betting kiosks, and six betting windows, with Rose joined by a number of sporting stars in marking the opening.

Elsewhere, BetMGM has also launched operations in the region via the mobile and retail verticals, adding to the options available for sports betting fans across the Buckeye State.

“Today marks a monumental day of growth for both BetMGM and the sports betting industry,” said Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM CEO. 

“Ohio is home to thousands of passionate sports fans, who now have the opportunity to enjoy first-hand the excitement and benefits of wagering with BetMGM.”

In addition to the mobile app of the state name, customers in the state can also place wagers at a pair of BetMGM retail sportsbooks that are located at MGM Northfield Park and the Great American Ball Park.

Matt Buckley, President & COO of the Midwest Group at MGM Resorts International, noted: “The addition of legalised sports betting at MGM Northfield Park strengthens our reputation as Ohio’s premier entertainment destination. 

“This new amenity will give our guests the ultimate sports viewing experience, while creating more jobs and economic growth for the state.”  

Caesars has also documented its entry into the region, with the group’s sports wagering platform as well as two land-based options available for Ohioans.

Eligible sports fans can now wager while earning Caesars Rewards on the Caesars Sportsbook app or by visiting two new Caesars Sportsbook retail locations that are now accepting bets in the state.

“Caesars Sportsbook is ready to offer a top-of-the-line sports betting experience to Ohioans,” commented Eric Hession, President of Caesars Digital. 

“This launch builds on our legacy in Ohio of treating customers like royalty. We look forward to providing an added level of excitement to the sports entertainment experience, whether they use our mobile app or visit one of our new retail sportsbooks in Columbus or Cleveland.”

In addition to a mobile option, customers can also access a sportsbook offering at Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs via a number of betting windows and self-service kiosks or the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

At the NBA arena, the new, 10,355-square-foot sportsbook accepted its first legal sports wagers on new year’s day, with a ceremonial grand opening event subsequently taking place one day later. Caesars is the official sports betting and casino partner of the Cavaliers.

“The launch of legalised sports betting in Ohio and the grand opening of Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is a historic moment for our franchise, Northeast Ohio and the entire state,” explained Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rock Entertainment Group CEO Nic Barlage

“It is with great pride and responsibility that we open the first Sportsbook in a sports venue in Cleveland. Located within the heart and fabric of downtown Cleveland and connected to the over 200 events that the FieldHouse hosts each year, this sportsbook will be an asset and amenity for our community, and we’re excited to bring it to life alongside our great partners in Caesars.” 

Furthermore, FanDuel and Boyd Gaming disclosed the launch of the former’s online Sportsbook within the state and the opening of a new retail sportsbook at Belterra Park Cincinnati, while Christine Hoyer, Chief Development Officer for Special Olympics Ohio, kicked off the launch of betJACK in the state by placing the first bet at JACK Cleveland Casino.