Kroger is considering adding sports gaming kiosks to 22 of its grocery stores in Ohio, according to applications filed by the retailer with the state’s casino control commission.
All of those applications are currently under review by the commission, part of a process that began nearly a month ago that allowed restaurants, bars and other businesses with liquor permits to apply to install offsite sports betting stations.
A spokesperson for Cincinnati-based Kroger declined to comment Thursday on the retailer’s pending applications or the company’s sports gaming plans. Kroger has 211 Ohio locations, according to the company’s website.
Offsite gaming applications are due Monday by 11:59 pm., with wagering under the new program slated to begin Jan. 1.
“When I looked this morning, we had over 400 applications,” Jessica Franks, director of communications for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told WGB. “We anticipate a significant increase over the weekend.”
It does not appear that any other grocery retailers have applied to operate sports betting kiosks in their stores, according to Franks as well as a WGB review of the list of applicants. The bulk of the applications are from restaurants and bars.
To apply to become what the Commission terms a “Type C Sports Gaming Host,” retailers and others must sell Ohio Lottery tickets and must have received prior approval from the state’s lottery commission.
As of Thursday, 40 Kroger stores and nine Acme Fresh Markets had received recommendations from the Ohio Lottery Commission, according to the agency’s records. But that does not mean that those companies have applied to the casino control commission to operate sports betting kiosks.
An Acme Fresh representative did not immediately respond to a WGB request to comment on whether the chain plans to apply for gaming kiosks.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last year signed a bill into law to legalize sports betting in the state, starting in 2023.
The first round of licenses will go to 1,000 establishments that already sell alcohol and lottery tickets. Entities that don’t have liquor licenses can apply after this round closes on Monday.
An application and three-year gaming license cost $1,000, with kiosks provided by third-party vendors under terms set by the vendors and retailers or restaurant operators.