CLEVELAND — When gambling came to Ohio a decade ago, slots needed no instruction beyond pulling the lever or hitting a button. Most poker and blackjack players learned the games playing cards with friends. Sports betting is an entirely new form of gaming with new terminology. That's why the folks at JACK Entertainment have created the betJack app.
"We feel that it's important for folks here in Ohio to get some experience and exposure to the wide world of sports betting before real money is in play," said Adam Suliman, Vice President of Sports and Digital Gaming at JACK Entertainment. "So we've developed this product that allows customers to explore all of the different betting markets that exist out there, and there are lots of them."
What you'll be playing with, he said, are not actual dollars but imaginary tokens.
"You download the app, you register, which is super simple, and you get 100 tokens a day that you can bet on anything you want, right?" Suliman said. "Table tennis to the NBA playoffs to the Guardians games that are going on now."
So you can click on the Guardians favored Wednesday by 1.5 runs over the White Sox, wager 10 tokens, click a button and that's it. There are also the traditional prop bets like with the NFL Draft, including how many quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers will be taken in the first round, for example. Or maybe you want to bet on the Browns, who are +200 to win the division. That means you'll win 200 for every 100 you bet, giving you 300 back for a win.
"And the nice thing about a free to play training camp type product is you get to experiment with all of that and figure out all of those nuances of sports betting before you actually have $100 of your hard-earned money on the line," Suliman said.
betJACK offers a variety of betting options, including spreads, money lines, over/under and parlays, as well as in-game betting. While learning the ropes of sports betting, users are encouraged to explore everything betJACK has to offer, especially the ability to earn virtual trophies by winning strategic bets and in-app challenges. The more a user practices, the greater the chance of climbing the leader board on the app, which showcases those with the most bets won. Additionally, users can connect with their friends within the app to strategize their current bets, compare trophy cases, or engage in a little friendly competition.
And aside from a few tweaks, what you see now on the app will be what you see when sports betting goes live in Ohio, no later than January 1 of next year. When it comes to sports betting, online is where the action is.
"Most of the newer jurisdictions that have sports betting are seeing north of 90% of the wagering activity going through mobile applications and websites; we think that will be the case here in Ohio as well," Suliman said.
As for the physical sportsbooks at the Jack properties, Suliman said, "We've really dialed in on the construction plan, we think we're pencils down, fingers crossed on what the design looks like and so we started placing orders for materials and we're excited to break ground on those very, very soon."