CLEVELAND, Ohio – Come Sunday, Jan. 1, a new world will open to sports enthusiasts in Ohio. Gambling, that quintessential American avocation that has pulled itself above its once seedy reputation and which continues to enjoy its niche as entertainment, is starting legally.
And if the last time you bet was a trip to Las Vegas when you just knew Bernie Kosar could help the Browns beat the spread (if not win the game), then you’re in for a few changes.
Wagering has become more involved, and it’s not because of the gamblers or the sports. It’s because of technology and creativity.
The pace of real-time life through technology allows wagers to be placed before and during games. And bookmakers have opened multiple-game wagers in many ways.
We spoke with Bob Wankel, director of performance media services at XLMedia, which has a partnership with cleveland.com, and Adam Suliman, senior vice president of sports and digital gaming of Jack Entertainment, to guide us. Here’s a primer to help navigate the world of wagering:
What is the minimum age to bet?
Determined by state. In most – like Ohio – you have to be 21.
Which sports will be available to bet in Ohio?
With so many options ready to open in Ohio – either via apps, kiosks or brick-and-mortar – the question really should be what can’t you bet on. Wankel, based in New Jersey, says expect all four major sports – NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL – in addition to professional soccer, European and other leagues, Australian Rules football, boxing, cricket, golf, Tour de France, rugby, handball, mixed-martial arts and more. In New Jersey, he said, people can even bet on professional darts. Expect Ohio to be market-standard in this regard. Wager-eligible sports, along with nuances and betting regulation, fall under the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said Suliman, based in Cleveland. “It’s a pretty broad list,” he said.
What types of wagers will be available?
This is where the fun is. Bettors can choose between individual games with a point spread or moneyline, player propositions, in-game wagers and parlays (we’ll get to those in a minute):
• A point spread is the amount one team is favored to win by. So if Buffalo is listed as -4.5, they are favored to beat Miami by at least 5 points. If Miami is listed as +4.5, they can lose the game by fewer …….