Pete Rose, MLB’s all-time hits leader who has been banished from the game for more than 30 years because of gambling, will help usher in Ohio’s legalized sports betting era on Jan. 1.
Rose, a Cincinnati native who was an all-star player for the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, will place the first bet at Hard Rock Cincinnati’s retail sportsbook, according to a release from the Seminole Gaming casino.
In 1989, when Rose was the Reds manager, an MLB investigation determined that he had bet on his team, which is a direct violation of league rules. He’s been banned from the league since, although MLB has granted some waivers for him to appear at some Reds and league events. His requests to be reinstated have been denied.
After the Rose scandal, the Baseball Hall of Fame instituted a policy that anyone banned from the sport would not be eligible for enshrinement.
Other Former Cincy Athletes Scheduled to Attend
Rose is expected to place the first bet at Hard Rock at 12:01 am on New Year’s Day, coinciding with the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s decision to allow sportsbooks to launch once the ball drops in Times Square, as OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said earlier this year.
He won’t be alone, as Hard Rock has lined up eight other Cincinnati sports legends to help open the sportsbook. That includes longtime Reds announcer Marty Brennaman and former players Tom Browning and Bronson Arroyo. Also on hand will be Olympic gold medal track star Mary Wineberg and former Cincinnati Bengals Anthony Munoz, Ickey Woods, Jim Breech, and David Fulcher.
This won’t be the first time Rose celebrates with Hard Rock. A year ago, he and other Cincinnati celebrities, including funk legend Bootsy Collins, participated in the official grand opening of the rebranded Hard Rock Casino. The casino actually opened in March 2013 but has switched hands a couple of times. Hard Rock closed on the casino deal with JACK Entertainment in 2019.
Hard Rock Approved Wednesday
On Wednesday, the OCCC conditionally approved Hard Rock’s application for both its retail and online sports betting proprietor licenses.
We’re excited about launching our sportsbook on Jan. 1,” Hard Rock Cincinnati President George Goldhoff told the commissioners at the meeting in Columbus. “I think it’s going to be great for Ohio, great for Hard Rock Cincinnati.”
As a casino operator in Ohio, Hard Rock was one of the companies that received preferential consideration from the OCCC for its proprietor licenses. Under the sports betting law the Ohio legislature passed nearly a year ago, the state’s casinos, racinos, and professional sports teams were given preference for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and online applications.
The law allows approved proprietors to partner with one or two online sports betting operators and host one retail sportsbook.
Hard Rock will operate its own retail book and its online app. The app is available to download in advance of the Jan. 1 launch date.
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