The shortcomings for Intralot in the US continue to spread to new states, this time affecting the launch of Ohio sports betting for lottery retailers.
Instead, nearly three weeks into the market, Erik Richman said he is still waiting, disappointing customers that arrived at his bar expecting to place bets after months of advertisements leading up to the launch. Richman was eventually told the company would roll out kiosks in phases, but he has no idea when to expect his.
Intralot not offering Ohio sports betting details
According to the Intralot-powered Sports Bet Ohio site, 698 lottery retailers signed up for kiosks. How many have received their kiosks, though, is not entirely clear.
The Ohio Lottery website says Sports Bet Ohio kiosks will be delivered by mid-to-late January despite listing its launch date as Jan. 1. Two other suppliers, Gold Rush and Elys, are not live but list launch dates for February and March, respectively.
Calls to multiple businesses partnered with either BetIGG or UBetOhio confirmed they have their kiosks up and running.
Multiple attempts to contact Intralot and its recruiting partner, 21 Entertainment Group, went unanswered.
Lottery says Intralot testing underway
Danielle Frizzi-Babb, deputy director of communications for the Ohio Lottery, told LSR testing continues on Intralot’s kiosks.
“Lottery sports gaming went live with three proprietors on January (1) in 63 counties at over 760 host locations in Ohio. Bet IGG and UBet Ohio launched with kiosks and Intralot launched on clerk-operated terminals only as their kiosk software continued to be tested. This week, Intralot’s kiosk software solution began in-venue testing at pilot locations.
“If the pilot program is successful, additional locations’ kiosks will go live in the coming weeks. Additionally, we expect another two proprietors, BetSkybox and Gold Rush, to begin launching their own self-service kiosk solution very soon.”
Frustrations growing from OH sports betting partners
Some of Intralot’s partners are disappointed to not launch sports betting by Jan. 1, which was supposed to be the universal start date, said David Corey, executive VP of the Bowling Centers Association of Ohio.
“Our people are frustrated,” Corey said. “I’ve got probably at least 50 centers that have keno kiosks that are supposed to have the sports betting aspect on them and they’re not there.”
Intralot finalized a five-year deal with the lottery to offer sports betting through existing lottery equipment in December, with a January launch expected.
Corey explained those frustrations are only amplified by the run the Cincinnati Bengals were on through Sunday. The only news they hear is that the launch should be “next week,” but that has not happened yet.
“To tell you the truth, we’re not sure why [there is a delay]. They’ve had a year to get ready and we’re not sure why the lottery’s not live yet,” Corey said. “Intralot showed the machine, they showed the equipment, we had sessions all throughout the state of Ohio where we had hundreds of bar and bowling center owners at those training sessions and reviewed everything.”
Intralot issues outside of Ohio
Ohio marks the third US jurisdiction where Intralot operates sports betting. Its product in the other two jurisdictions, Montana and Washington DC, has massively underwhelmed.
Intralot is the sole legal sportsbook operator in Montana, with betting only available at lottery kiosks. It launched in March 2020 with unheard-of vig on its lines, and that has not changed. That kind of pricing more than likely drives would-be bettors to illegal, unregulated sites that offer better lines or keeps them with bookies.
In DC, Intralot tried a similar approach to Montana when the DC Lottery’s GambetDC went live in May 2020. It was the only operator for a few months until kiosks for William Hill opened at Capital One Arena, which bettors quickly favored.
Intralot since tried to be more competitive on pricing in DC, but some DC councilmembers think it is too little, too late. Former Councilmember Elissa Silverman submitted legislation to prevent the council from approving a five-year extension for Intralot in 2024.