No Irony Here: Pete Rose to Place First Wager in Ohio Sports Betting

The familiar face of Cincinnati’s most cherished hometown hero will be on hand to place the first wager at the Hard Rock Casino when Ohio legal sports betting launches. Former Reds star and Major League Baseball all-time hit king Pete Rose will fill out the first betting slip at the new sportsbook on Jan. 1, 2023, according to a report from WLWT Cincinnati.

The irony is hard to miss: Rose was banned from MLB in 1989 for betting on baseball while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds. That decision has kept the baseball-crazy Rose out of the major leagues, and also led to him not being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Now, with sports betting legal in much of the country, with MLB entering agreements with sports betting operators, with odds on games being scrolled at the bottom of the screen during broadcasts, and with active players signing promotional deals worth millions with sportsbooks, Rose will be at ground zero when Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati starts accepting bets on New Year’s Day 2023.

Best Ohio sports betting launch bonuses: Claim $600 in free bets from four sportsbooks

Rose Still Banned from Baseball, and Hall of Fame Ballot

Most headlines surrounding Rose are dominated by his banishment from baseball, a game he played for 24 seasons and managed for seven. Born in Cincinnati where his father raised him to be a relentless athlete, Rose helped the Reds to two World Series titles, won the 1973 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and in 1978 hit in an NL record 44 consecutive games.

Rose’s crowning achievement was setting the all-time hits record, eclipsing a mark that was seemingly unattainable until Rose had the audacity and the skill to produce 4,256 hits, most of them in a Cincinnati uniform.

After he left the Reds as a free agent and became the self-proclaimed “first million-dollar singles hitter” in baseball history, Rose led the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980. He played in more games, came to the plate more times, and played in more winning games than anyone in MLB history.

But, in 1989, his seventh season as manager of the Reds, Rose was investigated by the league for betting on games, a violation of professional conduct in nearly every sport. The league banned him for life, with Rose thinking he could apply for reinstatement after one year, and likely be granted his wish. Instead, Rose was pilloried for more than a decade by unsavory characters involved in sports betting, and even a few former teammates, who admonished “Charlie Hustle” for his indiscretion.

Finally, in 2003, Rose admitted he bet on his team while in his role as manager of the Reds. Subsequently, every time he’s petitioned to be reinstated to the game he loves, Rose has been denied. He’s also been unable to join other baseball legends in Cooperstown as a member of the Hall of Fame.

In Cincinnati, none of that matters. More than 35 years after he last played a game for the Reds, Rose is still the biggest name in Cincinnati sports.

Rose now spends much of his time in Las Vegas, where he works six days a week at a retail location signing autographs and posing for photos. He also provides baseball commentary for various digital platforms and is a Hard Rock Casino and Sportsbook brand ambassador.

What about now?: Should the legalization of Ohio sports betting impact Pete Rose’s ban from baseball?

A Closer Look at Cincinnati’s Hard Rock

The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati will debut its retail sportsbook on Jan. 1, and Rose will be one of the VIPs on hand to celebrate Day 1 of sports betting in Ohio the seventh-most populous state in the country. The Ohio market, with two MLB teams, two NFL teams, the NBA’s Cavaliers, and the Ohio State Buckeyes is expected to be one of the largest markets in the industry.

The Hard Rock Casino is located at 1000 Broadway, in Cincinnati. It opened in 2013 and has more than 100,000 square feet with more than 1,600 slot machines, casino table games, as well as live poker. The Hard Rock Sportsbook retail location will be located adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe inside the casino. The Hard Rock Sportsbook will have 33 betting kiosks, multiple television sets for sports viewing, and a lounge area.

Ohio will be the seventh state to offer either a retail Hard Rock Sportsbook or the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app. It’s also available in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia.

AP Photo/John Minchillo

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.