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Phantom Fireworks applies for Ohio sports betting license

Ohio sports betting news

Last Friday, Phantom Fireworks joined the list of applicants looking to get a retail sportsbook license from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). The pyrotechnic retailer based in Youngstown, Mahoning County, is looking to set up a sports betting facility at the Covelli Center.

According to the owner, Bruce Zoldan, this will bring more revenue to downtown Youngstown while giving back to the community.

“More and more entertainment is coming to Youngstown’s inner city. We want to bring more dollars to the city,” he said.

“Hollywood Gaming is in Austintown. We need one downtown.”

William Weimer, Vice President and General Counsel of the operation, said: “Bruce has tried his best to give back to the community that supported him all along from the beginning. Bruce has loyalties, and he believes this gaming license will benefit the city.”

According to Zoldan, only one gambling license was initially given to Mahoning County, but through the help of lobbyists Phantom Fireworks was able to convince Ohio legislators to approve a second license. The state is said to be licensing up to 40 sports betting facilities, with more permits going to the biggest counties based on population.

Regarding plans to base the sportsbook at the Covelli Centre, concerns have been raised about the possibility of exposing young persons to gambling. The 7,000-seater multipurpose arena is the home of the Youngstown Phantoms, a junior hockey team for amateur players between the ages of 16 to 21.

However, the company claims that the decision to site the betting facility at the center has nothing to do with the ice hockey team named after the company and co-owned by Zoldan, nor does it plan to lobby the state government for a license to bet on junior hockey.

When asked about the proposed plan, Eric Ryan, president of the JAC management group that runs the Covelli Centre, said he was “OK with it”.

Councilman Julius Oliver of Youngstown First Ward also added that a sportsbook would be a positive addition for the community.

“It’ll be good for Youngstown’s economy. The more people downtown, the better. We can’t keep losing things to other cities and suburbs,” he said.

Even though the names of the applicants have been released, it should not be taken as an endorsement of their applications, noted the OCCC. The executive director, Matt Schuler, has made it clear that no approvals have been given as it is still in the process of accepting and reviewing applications.

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