Downtown sites to add retail sports betting

Interior view of planned retail sports betting parlor at Jack Cleveland Casino in downtown Cleveland.

With a view toward the southeast corner of the Jack Cleveland Casino, this rendering shows what the retail sportsbook in the downtown casino will look like including video walls, betting windows, theater-style seating and banquettes (Cupkovic). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Sportsbooks to link offshore until Ohio awards licenses

After Ohio legalized sports betting last December, several locations in downtown Cleveland are getting ready to compete in offering sportsbook retail venues where customers can place bets on a wide variety of sporting events. And they’re doing it before the Ohio Casino Control Commission has established the ground rules for making applications for up to 40 sportsbook licenses statewide.

How does that work? Through the magic of the Internet. Online sports betting through the use of an offshore sportsbook Web site does not violate state or federal gambling laws. Offshore sports betting at a casino or stadium provides a legal way for Ohio residents to gamble on sports while Ohio establishes agency regulations and issues the licenses. And it’s a pretty good bet that casino and professional sporting facilities will be among the venues to win Ohio sportsbook licenses anyway.

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While Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association announced in February that they inked a multi-year deal to provide a retail sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, it may not be the first to open its doors to the public. No construction permit applications have been filed with the city yet to provide the Caesars-Cavs betting parlor.

Another view of the planned retail sportsbook inside the Jack Cleveland Casino downtown.

From the south side of the Jack Cleveland Casino, the new retail sports betting parlor is seen here including its video wall, seating and interior finishes. (Cupkovic).

But permits were filed last week for the construction of a retail sportsbook in the southeast corner of the Jack Cleveland Casino, at street level on the northwest corner of Ontario Street and Prospect, according to city records. The permit application says the work will involve interior alteration of 6,460 square feet of space of the casino’s gaming floor.

To be added to the first-floor space will be large video walls, gaming pit, betting windows, seating, video poker bar, televisions and banquettes. The space will have new materials, finishes and special lighting. The permit application doesn’t indicate the cost of the improvements. The project architect is Cupkovic Architecture of Independence.

The Cleveland Guardians are also reportedly adding a retail sportsbook to Progressive Field. The first phase of the $435 million renovation of the baseball stadium will transform the left-field terraces this year for $33 million. Included is a redesign of the Terrace Club restaurant with a sports betting parlor, real estate sources said.

Overview of the first floor plan for the Jack Cleveland Casino showing the new sportsbook location.

First-floor plan for the Jack Cleveland Casino with the new retail sportsbook seen in the upper-right portion. At right is Prospect Avenue, Ontario Street is across the top and Public Square on the left. The new outdoor gaming patio facing Public Square is visible in this floor plan. (Cupkovic).

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Meanwhile, Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will have betting windows for cash wagering and combine custom VIP and hospitality experiences for Caesars Rewards members, along with on-site activations throughout the year, according to a written statement from Caesars Entertainment.

The approximately 10,355 square foot venue in the downtown arena will feature a full-service bar and VIP lounge, an extensive menu, and wall-to-wall TV’s. The costs of these improvements will be paid for entirely by the Cavaliers and Caesars. The Caesars Sportsbook will be located on the street level inside the arena’s north atrium, near the intersection of Ontario and Huron Road.

Like the Jack Cleveland Casino’s retail sportsbook, the Caesars-Cavs venue will be open year-round on both event and non-event days for eligible fans with tickets to events and to those without tickets who want to place wagers. Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is expected to be open by the end of 2022, subject to regulatory and other necessary approvals and further details and renderings will be announced at a later time.

In addition, per its agreement with the Cavs, Caesars Sportsbook gained access to the use of official Cleveland Cavaliers logos and marks, broadcast and digital content across Cavs properties, as well as TV-visible in-game signage. Caesars Sportsbook opened the first-ever sportsbook at a professional sports venue in May 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

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