MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Some Northeast Ohio bars celebrated Wednesday night as the first round of sports gaming host licenses were announced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

200 Type-C licenses were awarded across the state.

One of the lucky establishments to score a license is Rivals Sports Bar & Grille on Smith Road in Middleburg Heights.

“For us, it’s huge!” said Manager Brad Henry. “It’s going to be great. Come pick out your burgers, beers and your bets.”

Bars and taverns that have been approved will be allowed to offer “self-service or clerk-operated sports betting terminals” beginning January 1, 2023.

The machines, which will be similar to Ohio Lottery kiosks, will offer four types of wagers, including point spreads on individual games.

But bets will be limited to under $1,000 per person per week.

“It keeps the person from spending their paycheck in one bet,” said State Senator Cecil Thomas (D) Avondale.

“We don’t want people rolling in with $100,000 in cash,” said State Senator Niraj Antani (R) Miamisburg. “That’s more appropriate for a full sportsbook that has the security measures, the security cameras, the ability to pay out a bet of that size.”

The smaller wagers and kiosks are good enough for them, said patrons at Rivals upon learning about the license.

“I think it will be a good thing and bring in more business,” said Tom Glennon. “People want to bet on stuff, and I think they should be able to come in and bet. And if it’s going to be legal, why not do it in places like this?” 

Rivals managers are already preparing for larger crowds and call the license a real game changer.

“It’s definitely going to bring a new level of excitement,” said Henry. “Not just the extra revenue from the sports betting, but the extra footsteps coming in through the door.”

The commission has not yet said when it will announce the Type-A and Type-B “brick and mortar” licenses.