Sports franchises embracing Ohio sports betting opportunities
After months of waiting, Ohio sports betting will officially launch on Jan. 1, 2023. When it launches in the new year, Ohio’s professional sports franchises will all be firmly entrenched in the sports betting market, more so than any other state in the country.
So far, eight professional sports franchises have been conditionally approved for either online sports betting, retail sports betting, or both in the Buckeye State.
Ohio professional sports jumping into sports betting market
Sports franchises showing interest in the sports betting market is not a new phenomena. Washington, D.C. is currently home to the most live brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in professional sports arenas, as the district’s Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards, Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, and D.C United’s Audi Field all have open sportsbooks for fans to place bets during games.
Arizona is currently home to two open sportsbooks at professional sports stadiums, as Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, has a Caesars Sportsbook branded facility at its stadium and the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury, has a FanDuel branded sportsbook at its arena.
The Arizona Cardinals will also soon open a retail sportsbook on the grounds of State Farm Stadium later this season.
But, when fully operational, Ohio will have by far the most sportsbooks for fans to place bets at their teams’ stadiums or arenas. Seven retail sportsbooks have been planned for 2023 and beyond and eight teams have been conditionally approved for online sports betting licenses.
“Professional teams integrating retail sports books into their facilities provides franchises an additional avenue to further enhance fan engagement, as well as offers an opportunity to drive revenue to their facilities on non-traditional use days, such as game days, concerts, and special events. As we look across the country in places like D.C., Arizona, and soon Illinois and Ohio, this is a model that I believe will only continue to enhance fan engagement,” Brandt Iden, Head of Government Affairs, U.S. Sportradar, told Saturday Tradition.
There are plenty of advantages for teams to become involved in this new industry, Iden said. Teams can use sports betting to grow their brand awareness, increase fan engagement, and create new marketing mediums.
“However, with this industry comes the responsibility of ensuring that consumers are participating in a safe and responsible manner. It’s been great to see sports leagues continue to focus on educating consumers on responsible gaming efforts and at the same time foster a fun, safe, and regulated entertainment product,” he said.
So what Ohio teams are looking to take advantage their opportunity to get into sports betting market? Let’s take a look.
NFL embracing sports betting
The NFL has come around on sports betting after years of distancing itself from the market. Ohio’s NFL teams have jumped headfirst into the market, as both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns applied for online and retail sports betting licenses.
While the NFL is in favor of sports betting as a marketing and promotional tool for fans, it has strict regulations for sportsbooks at stadiums. If a stadium hosts a sportsbook within its confines it cannot accept bets during home games. The Arizona Cardinals recently found a way around this restriction, as they constructed a standalone sportsbook on the property of the team’s stadium. but not within its structure.
So, what are the Bengals and Browns plans to move into the market?
Cincinnati Bengals: The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals applied for and received conditional approval of a Type A online sports betting license. The Bengals received approval earlier this month, but said it would not be pursuing a Type B retail sports betting license, as the NFL does not allow bets to be placed during home games at sportsbook in team stadiums.
The Bengals brokered a multi-year partnership in July with Betfred to make the operator the team’s official sports betting partner.
“The Bengals continue to look for exciting new ways to enhance the fan experience and this partnership will provide additional opportunities to engage with our fans,” said Brian Sells, Bengals Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release announcing the partnership.
The Bengals are eligible to launch online sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns have applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval on both. The Browns announced a partnership with Bally’s Interactive to operate its online sports betting program and retail sportsbook at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Currently, the franchise has not revealed any details on its potential retail sportsbook. A branded Bally’s interactive lounge will be present at the stadium, but no bets will be accepted in its premises.
The franchise will be eligible to launch sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
MLB sportsbooks are becoming more popular
There are already several live sportsbooks at MLB stadiums throughout the country, and Ohio will be no exception, as the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians have both applied for sports betting licenses.
Unlike the NFL, professional baseball allows bets to be accepted on game days, but has strict rules for sportsbook access points. Sportsbooks connected to stadiums need to have their own entrances and cannot be accessed by fans through entrances connected to the stadium.
Here’s what the Reds and Guardians have planned.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval on both. The Reds plan to construct a sportsbook at its Great American Ball Park.
The Reds announced a multi-year partnership with BetMGM earlier this month to run its retail sportsbook. It’s BetMGM’s second sportsbook at an MLB stadium, joining the BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The Reds turned to Underdog Sports Wagering to run its online sports betting program.
The franchise is eligible to launch both retail and online sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
Cleveland Guardians: The Guardians applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval for both. The Guardians have partnered with bet365 for its online sports betting services and Bet Fanatics, a newcomer to the sports betting market, for its retail sports betting services.
The Guardians plan to construct a BetFanatics retail sportsbook at Progressive Field.
The Guardians will be able to launch both online and retail sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
NBA has loosest Ohio sports betting restrictions
The NBA has by far the least restrictions on sportsbooks house in team arenas. The NBA allows sportsbooks to take bets on game days and fans can enter sportsbooks through common entrances shared within the arena.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have plans to enter the market, but has encountered recent difficulties with its online sports betting plans.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers have applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval for both. However, the Cavaliers online sports betting partnership finds itself in flux, as its approved operator Fubo Sportsbook announced it would cease operations as of Oct. 17.
It’s unlikely that the Cavaliers will be able to launch their online sports betting service by Ohio’s universal launch date of Jan. 1, 2023, according to an Ohio Casino Control Commission representative.
Jessica Franks, Communications Director for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told Saturday Tradition that the Cavaliers will be able to name a new operator in their application, but will likely not be able to launch on Jan. 1, 2023.
“I find it very unlikely they will be able to get us a complete application and submit all of the necessary regulatory requirements for that launch,” she told Saturday Tradition.
Its retail sports betting plans will be on track for a Jan. 1, 2023 launch though. The Cavaliers agreed to a partnership with Caesars Sportsbook for a retail sports betting facility at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Blue Jackets entering Ohio sports betting market
The NHL has similar rules as MLB for its franchises with a retail sportsbook. The NHL does not allow sportsbook access directly from stadiums on game days and must have a separate entrance point from the stadium for customers. It does allow bets to be placed during game day.
So what do the Blue Jackets have planned for the market?
Columbus Blue Jackets: The state’s lone NHL franchise applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval for both. The Blue Jackets have partnered with Bet Fanatics for both its retail and online sports betting services.
The Blue Jackets are the only professional sports team in the state to agree to a secondary online sports betting partnership. The Blue Jackets agreed to a partnership with Prophet Exchange to serve as its secondary provider.
“This is an exciting opportunity to enhance fan engagement, while ensuring it’s done legally and safely under the supervision of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. We are thrilled about the partnerships we have entered into and appreciate the support of local and state authorities that have helped make this possible. With regards to specifics, we will have exciting news to share in the very near future,” a Columbus Blue Jackets representative told Saturday Tradition.
The Blue Jackets will be eligible to launch sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
MLS not to be left out
MLS sportsbook rules seem similar to the NBA. Fans can place bets during game day and sportsbooks don’t seem to have any restrictions on where fans can enter. Both Ohio MLS teams have aspirations to get into the state’s sports betting market. What do the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati have planned moving forward?
Columbus Crew: One of two MLS teams in Ohio, the Columbus Crew applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval for both. The Crew partnered with Tipico to operate both its online and retail sports betting programs.
The long-term partnership named Tipico the official and exclusive sports betting partner of the Columbus Crew. As part of the deal, Tipico will receive naming rights to the Tipico Beer Garden and Tipico Club.
No details have yet been provided in regards to a Tipico retail sportsbook at the Crew stadium.
The Columbus Crew is eligible to launch sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
FC Cincinnati: The second MLS team in Ohio, FC Cincinnati applied for both a Type A and Type B professional sports betting license and have received conditional approval for both. FC Cincinnati announced a long-term, multi-faceted partnership with SuperBook Sports to operate its sports betting program.
The partnership allows FC Cincinnati fans to play online sports bets throughout the state and at FC Cincinnati’s stadium. The partnership also includes a SuperBook operated in-person sportsbook a retail venue in Cincinnati that has yet to be revealed.
FC Cincinnati is eligible to launch sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.