SPIRE Institute Partner Gets Ohio Sports Betting License

Written By Derek Helling on December 16, 2022
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There are still more questions than answers when it comes to the Ohio sports betting operations related to SPIRE Institute. However, whether the emergent company that will actually handle that gambling will get a license from regulators in the state is no longer among those questions.

On Thursday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission approved Out the Gate for a license to offer both online and retail betting on sports. Now, the pertinent questions of exactly how that will happen should be answered soon.

Out the Gate gets Ohio sports betting license

Regulators approved the necessary licensure for SPIRE Institute’s parent company, Axxella, in November. Now, with Out the Gate licensed as well, the grand plans can move forward. This represents a further diversification of Axxella’s business interests.

Axxella is an investment firm that claims its headquarters in Baltimore. It also owns a fitness club in Ohio and other ventures. Axxella acquired SPIRE Institute, which is a private prep school in Geneva, about three years ago.

Out the Gate will actually manage the daily operations of the online and physical sportsbook on Axxella’s behalf. SPIRE Institute’s role in this situation was essentially giving the companies an “anchor” in Ohio.

To date, all parties involved have kept exactly what those grand plans entail pretty close to the vest. Right now, it’s unclear when Out the Gate will start accepting bets in Ohio and exactly where.

Could a physical sportsbook open on SPIRE’s campus?

In theory, it’s possible. There are no regulatory or statutory bans on retail sportsbooks being within a certain vicinity of schools for people too young to gamble in Ohio.

At the same time, the optics of opening up betting windows mere feet away from where youth sports are taking place are probably something Axxella and Out the Gate want to avoid.

Until Axxella and Out the Gate announce their plans publicly, the mystery around the location of their retail book will remain. So far, those companies have not yet shared when they will start taking wagers online, either. The earliest they could do so is Jan. 1, 2023.

Axxella isn’t the only non-gaming entity to get in on Ohio gambling through sports betting. Ohio has also licensed bars and grocers to offer gambling on sports in their venues via self-service kiosks, for example.

Axxella is the only such licensee that also owns a school for students too young to gamble which hosts events that are illegal for Ohioans to wager upon, though. For that reason, the exact details of this operation bear a lot of intrigue.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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