The rollout of Ohio sports betting has been one for the ages. There’s been an interesting mix of storylines throughout the process, from stories about total betting numbers and various launch events to controversy surrounding advertising verbiage.
One of the most interesting side stories of Ohio sports betting going live is the number of former Buckeye State athletes that have been involved in one way or another. Let’s check out how a former Cincinnati Bengals offensive great kicked off one location’s retail sports betting in style.
Retired Bengals WR Places First FanDuel Belterra Park Bet
Belterra Park, a popular racino located in Cincinnati, just opened its very own FanDuel retail sportsbook. To commemorate the event, former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh placed the initial wager at the in-person sportsbook.
While the odds weren’t disclosed, Houshmanzadeh placed the bet on his former team, the Bengals, to win the Super Bowl. FanDuel Online Sportsbook currently lists the Cincinnati Bengals at +750 to win the big game, so it would definitely be a healthy payout for the retired star receiver.
The FanDuel retail sports betting location is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and became the fifteenth in-person FanDuel Sportsbook in the country.
The Belterra Park FanDuel Sportsbook is 2,500 square feet, featuring nine betting kiosks, three betting windows, 21 televisions to watch games on, and enough seating for 100 sports bettors. According to FOX19 Cincinnati, a new Belterra Park bar is also expected to open around April of 2023.
Recognize this guy? That’s former Bengal TJ Houshmandzadeh placing the first bet at Belterra Park’s Fanduel Sportsbook. His bet? The @Bengals win the Super Bowl! He will be at the game on Sunday as the Ruler of the Jungle. pic.twitter.com/SgOpHy2oUy
— Chelsea Sick (@chelseasicknews) January 12, 2023
Former Athletes Kick Off Ohio Sports Betting
Houshmanzadeh wasn’t the only former Ohio sports star to be involved with the 2023 rollout of Ohio sports wagering. The most noteworthy example comes from the Hard Rock Sportsbook Cincinnati, where former manager and pitcher of the Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose placed the very first legal Ohio bet after midnight passed on New Year’s Eve.
Like Houshmandzadeh, Rose bet on his former team to win a championship. Plenty of other Ohio sports stars were present at the event, such as former Bengals running back Ickey Woods, Olympic gold medalist Mary Wineberg, and former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
Additionally, the opening of the BetMGM retail sportsbook at Great American Ballpark (the home field of the Cincinnati Reds) saw former Bengals nose tackle wager on Cincinnati to win the Super Bowl while former Reds outfielder George Foster bet on Cincinnati to take down the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day.
Dangerous duos 😤
Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh, along with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, are the only Bengal duos to hit 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. pic.twitter.com/moRbUCQvAC
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 12, 2023
T.J. Houshmandzadeh Career Overview
While the 2000s saw no shortage of great Cincinnati Bengals offensive stars such as WR Chad Johnson, RB Rudi Johnson, and QB Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh built an excellent career with the team himself. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL draft out of Oregon State, Houshmandzadeh spent the majority of his ten-year career with Cincinnati.
The receiver retired after the 2011 season with 627 receptions for 7,237 yards and 44 TDs. His best season came in 2007, as Houshmandzadeh caught 112 balls for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns.