If you’re shopping at your nearest Kroger grocery store in Ohio and Lucky Charms are on your list, the feeling might rub off. You might be able to try your luck with a bet on the next Cleveland Cavaliers or Ohio State women’s basketball team games while you’re there.
That act won’t involve pulling out your phone and opening a sportsbook app. Rather, you can choose to take advantage of the recent accommodations that Kroger has made for sports bettors at many of its Ohio stores.
Ohio’s largest grocer rolls out sports betting kiosks
According to Scrape Hero, no other grocer has more locations in Ohio than Kroger, with 200 stores in 113 cities. It’s fitting as Ohio was the birthplace of the now national grocery store brand which celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2023.
Many of those stores have a new amenity for shoppers; kiosks that allow eligible bettors to bet on sporting events. Steve Watkins of the Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Kroger has installed the kiosks at 20 stores in Cincinnati and Dayton.
At this time, it’s unclear how soon Kroger will do the same in other stores in Ohio or even if it plans to do so. Kroger does have approval from the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Ohio Lottery to expand sports betting to many more locations throughout the state, however.
Just like with every other form of legal sports gambling in Ohio, patrons must be at least 21 years of age to place a wager on the kiosks. The payout system for winning bets is identical to the process for people who buy lottery tickets at Kroger.
The stores will pay out winnings up to $599 in cash. Kroger can set up its markets on the kiosks to its liking within regulatory limits. Because of the cash liability, Ohioans may find that the kiosks have lower limits and fewer markets than online sportsbooks in Ohio.
Akin to selling lottery tickets, sports betting kiosks are just another way for Kroger stores to capture revenue. Ohio is set to evaluate another gambling expansion in that same interest.
Ohio Legislature is weighing future legal online casino play
Starting Feb. 20, the Ohio Legislature’s Sports Gaming Study Committee will survey several topics, including the premise of legalizing online casino games in the state. Under current federal and state law, playing casino games online for US dollars in Ohio is a violation.
Three of the five states neighboring Ohio already offer such gaming to residents and visitors; Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Indiana has been debating taking the same step as well. The three active states have reaped tax revenue far superior to that which they get from online sports betting from real-money online casino play.
While a bill to make the change in Ohio law is unexpected in the current legislative session, 2025 is not out of the question. A framework for the online gambling expansion could resemble that which exists in Ohio for online sports betting. Online gambling companies might be required to partner with existing brick-and-mortar casinos and racetracks.
Because such relationships already exist for sports betting, the implementation of online casino play might be relatively simple. Whether that means grocers like Kroger will be able to offer kiosks with digital blackjack and roulette is uncertain but doubtful.
Even so, Ohio residents picking up some Lucky Strike matches at Kroger might hope that luck will strike in another way.