COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Sports betting has been legal in Ohio for two weeks, and some businesses in and around the Arena District said they are already seeing an uptick in business.
Restaurants like Boston’s Pizza on Nationwide Boulevard said they are really starting to see sales rise thanks to sports betters coming in. Others are still waiting to see that spike, but think they know exactly when it is going to hit.
NFL football days are always good days for sports bars like Boston’s, but general manager Natalie Tanner said recently, they’ve been better than good.
“Last Sunday was something out of the ordinary, like, a lot more people coming out to the Arena District,” she said.
Tanner credits a lot of that business to sports betting.
“A lot of people on their phones, yes,” she said. “I’ll take it.”
Tanner said that last Sunday, sales increased by about 20%.
On Saturday, Tanner said she bet on the Seattle Seahawks (who lost to the San Francisco 49ers). She’s also betting Boston’s will see sales continue to increase this weekend and throughout the year.
“I think these playoff games tomorrow will be a little crazy, with the Bengals, so I think it’s going to be a pretty big producer overall,” Tanner said.
Over at Gaswerks on North Front Street, their general manager said they’re still seeing huge crowds, but he hasn’t noticed sports gambling shifting the energy.
“I see it kind of how fantasy football is: everybody just kind of looking at it, checking out stats, making sure they know what’s going on,” said Gaswerks General Manager Merit Godbey. “But I think, as of right now, it’s not too crazy.”
But Godbey thinks that can change, especially with the variety of sports that play on the restaurant’s televisions.
“We are not just a football bar, we are not just a basketball bar; we had gymnastics on last night and, I think, even with the tennis and golf tournaments going on, there is going to be quite a bit to bet on,” he said. “So I think us being as prominent of a space as we are, we will definitely have some people here looking at it.”
Both Tanner and Godbey believe betting will bring huge crowds to Arena District bars for the Super Bowl and March Madness, when first- and second-round games take over Nationwide Arena.