Ohio Fireworks Company Ends Year With Bang, Gets Provisional Sports Betting License

Written By J.R. Duren on December 31, 2022
Phantom Fireworks Ohio sports betting provisional license

Phantom Fireworks is getting into the sports betting business.

The Youngstown-based fireworks company received a provisional sports betting license from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). The company will likely build a sportsbook in Youngstown’s Covelli Center, which is home to the United States Hockey League’s Youngstown Phantoms.

Phantom Vice President William Weimer told The Vindicator that his company, Covelli Center, and the Phantoms are working together to make a sportsbook a reality:

“Everybody is on board, and we’re all agreed that we are going to work toward some end here, and now the provisional license has been issued, this gives us the incentive to all parties to actually start making commitments and get moving on trying to formalize and finalize the project.”

Phantom will be a Type B sports betting provider, which means they will oversee a retail sports betting location. This license is different than other retailers that will offer sports betting kiosks through a Type A license.

What Phantom’s provisional license means

A provisional license from the OCCC lasts three months and can be renewed one time. The cost for a company like Phantom is $15,000. The provisional license is meant to help the OCCC move an application along in a “quick, consistent, and responsible manner.”

During the three-month provisional period, the OCCC will continue its background check of Phantom. In the meantime, Phantom will likely close a deal with a sports betting operator. All the major operators already have deals in Ohio, including DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, and FanDuel.

There are three operators still waiting for a license:

  • PlayUp
  • Wynn Bet
  • Prophet Exchange

It’s possible that one of those three operators could partner with Phantom, provided the OCCC grants them a license in time.

The sportsbook would be one of only two allowed in Mahoning County. The other approved sportsbook belongs to Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

When will Phantom’s sportsbook open?

While the provisional license is a win for Phantom, it means their sportsbook won’t be ready for the Ohio sports betting launch on January 1. It will likely take at least a couple of months for Phantom to close a deal with a sports betting operator and for the OCCC to complete its background investigation.

Ideally, the sportsbook at Covelli Center will be up and running by March Madness, which kicks off on March 14.  Phantom would be able to grab some of the betting action that takes place around the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Additionally, a March launch means the sportsbook would be open for the final month of the Youngstown Phantom’s regular season. The Phantoms play five games at home in April, including two against the U.S. men’s hockey national team.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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