The sports betting area at Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming has been covered with football field lined artificial turf and is ready for the first bet Sunday morning.
“Our machines have been tested. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has signed off. The Ohio Lottery Commission’s been involved. At 12:01 a.m., we fire it up and we’re going to start taking bets,” said Kevin Brogan, Hollywood Gaming’s marketing director.
The betting windows overlook the race track at Hollywood Gaming, but it was the construction taking place nearby that Brogan also wanted to show off.
“This is going to be the place to watch sports and bet in Mahoning County,” Brogan said.
The main feature will be a double panel 28×8 foot video screen, the frame of which is now up. The plan is to have the viewing area open by the Super Bowl. It’ll seat 200 people and bring in a younger crowd.
“That’s what we’re looking for. All the data says sports betting skews male, 21-45. There’s not a lot of that walking around our floor right now,” Brogan said.
Fifteen miles southeast of Hollywood Gaming, two sports betting kiosks are ready at Boardman’s Lanai Lounge, where on New Year’s Day, all it’ll take to place a wager is a license showing a person is at least 21. Placing the bet is simple.
“Someone who could walk in and order a sandwich should have the ability to place a bet quite easily,” said lawyer Ricky Volante.
“It’s been a learning process, but overall we’re one of only two proprietors that are going to be going live on Jan. 1. So I think we’ve done a pretty good job at it,” Volante said.
Hollywood Gaming has no big plans for the first bet. Whoever shows up first will place it.
The Lanai Lounge will not be open at midnight but will be on New Year’s Day at 11 a.m. for a full day of NFL games.