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Ohio regulator considers extending licence runway; Arkansas casino application opens

| By Jill R. Dorson
Tuesday (7 May) marks the final day for comments on a rule change that would extend the deadline for Ohio licensees to launch. But the Ohio Casino Control Commission is considering extending the runway.
ohio regulator may extend deadline

Currently, licensees have one year to go live from when a licence was issued. For local or retail entities, it’s not always easy to go from concept to launch in 12 months. According to the Business Journal, Phantom Fireworks is among those pressing against the deadline set by the Ohio regulator. Licensed as a Type B operator, which is brick-and-mortar only, the company does not yet have a definitive location for its sportsbook.

The proposed rule change would allow the OCCC executive director the latitude to extend the deadline on a case-by-case basis. Should the executive director determine that the licensee is making progress toward launch, he would have the option to give it more time.

HOF, Muirfield haven’t launched

The Ohio regulator launched legal sports betting on 1 January 2022 and the deadline for licensees to go live was 31 December 2022. The OCCC extended that deadline by six months and is now considering a second extension.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Muirfield Village Golf Club, the SPIRE Institute and Lori’s Roadhouse also have Type B licences, but are not yet offering wagering.

Phantom Fireworks, which owns the United State Hockey League Youngstown Phantoms, is moving forward, but managing administrative issues. Type B licences are for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks only.

“We are working with consultants to put together financial projections and hope to have them finalised within the next two weeks and then present them to the city,” Michael Podolsky, deputy general counsel for Phantom Fireworks told the Business Journal Daily. “If we continue down this path, having it open within the current time frame is not possible. We would need an extension of the deadline.”

Window opening for Arkansas casino licence

On Monday (6 May) the Arkansas Racing Commission failed to take up a request to consider allowing statewide mobile wagering. But it did vote to open a 30-day application window for a fourth casino. The window will open on 13 May and is for those interested in putting a casino in Pope County.

The commission must meet again to close the application window and agreed that they would do so on 12 June. When voters approved legal sports betting in November of 2018, they also approved casinos at two existing racetracks – Oak Lawn and Southlawn – and two future casinos. Jefferson and Pope counties were also approved for future casinos. Saracen Casino is located in Jefferson County.

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