Less than six months after it opened, BetMGM’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Cincinnati might be on the move.
WCPO-TV reported Tuesday the sportsbook currently located at the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park might move to The Banks, a popular mixed-use development district between Great American and the Bengals’ Paycor Stadium.
The Cincinnati TV station cited real estate sources who said the baseball team acquired leasing rights for a recently closed nightclub across the street from the ballpark.
Messages to the Reds, BetMGM and The Banks were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Great American Sportsbook Not Turning a Profit
One reason why a move might be considered, as WCPO notes, is that the retail sportsbook is not generating revenue.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission won’t release May sports betting revenue totals until the end of this month, but through the first four months, the BetMGM outlet has lost more than $8,000. That’s because the sportsbook reported a loss of $38,580 in April, the first full month of the baseball season. It’s the only one of the 14 licensed retail operators to post a year-to-date net loss.
Not only is it losing revenue, but it’s also not drawing much traffic. In April, the BetMGM Ohio site took just $98,810 in wagers, the second-lowest handle among the sportsbooks.
Curiously, the April handle was also the smallest of the sportsbook’s first four months. But even in other months, it lagged far behind the other retail sites. Since opening on Jan. 1, the BetMGM/Reds sportsbook has generated just $604,290 in handle. That’s less than 1% of all bets at retail Ohio sports betting sites.
By comparison, BetMGM’s other retail book at its MGM Northfield Park racino near Cleveland has taken more than $6 million in bets over the same timeframe.
Another challenge to the sportsbook is the general availability of online sports betting statewide. As it has in other states, Ohio sports betting apps quickly have become the preferred choice for Ohio bettors.
The total handle for Ohio through April is $3 billion. The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks have generated just $77.6 million, or 2.5%, of that.
In addition to apps and retail locations, Ohio sports betting kiosks are an option for bettors.
Why the Move Might Work
While the potential move would just be down one block, a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at The Banks likely would draw more attention.
The current sportsbook is located at the Machine Room in the northeast corner of the ballpark near the leftfield foul pole. While there is some parking for the sportsbook, it’s not as easily accessible as other areas along the Cincinnati riverfront.
Plus, more Reds fans access the park through entrances behind home plate and on the first base side of the stadium, which is where the nightclub site is located.
The fact that it’s not physically connected to the park will not likely be an issue. While Major League Baseball allows teams to host a sportsbook, the league’s rules prohibit access from within the stadium. So, people who come to watch Elly De La Cruz and the resurgent National League team can’t walk the concourse to place a bet while they get some goetta or Graeter’s ice cream during a game.
A location in The Banks would also likely draw more people who attend Bengals games in the fall and want to place a bet before or after the game. Fans interested in that might want to consult the Bengals Super Bowl odds on this site.