Ohio sports betting will officially launch on Jan. 1, 2023 and sports betting operators are already lining up partnerships and market access deals for a piece of the Ohio action.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced yesterday that Ohio sports betting will launch on Jan. 1, 2023. It’s the latest date by law the state can launch its sports betting program. The state will launch retail, online and sports betting kiosks in 2023, and will begin accepting license applications on June 15. Thousands of license applications are expected from operators hoping to gain access into Ohio.

The bill allows for a maximum of 46 online sports betting operators, though it likely will never reach the maximum amount. This could only be accomplished if all qualified operators were granted a second skin by the casino control commission, and fees for a second skin are fairly high.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission will announce which operators have applied for licenses in June, but several operators have already publicly announced their own Ohio market access deals or partnerships with sports franchises to offer sports betting.

We’ll take a look at the operators that have already agreed to Ohio sports betting partnerships, those who have gained market access, and those that have an existing footprint in the state. All of these partnerships are subject to licensing and regulatory approval.

Existing Ohio sports franchise partnerships

Caesars Sportsbook, Fubo Gaming, Bally Interactive, Tipico, and betPARX all inked partnerships within the last year with professional sports franchises or leagues to gain market access in Ohio.

Bally’s Interactive announced a partnership with the Cleveland Browns in April. The partnership includes a branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium, the launch of the mobile Bally Bet Sportsbook app and free-to-play gaming opportunities for fans in the state.

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced two partnerships this year, one with Caesars Sportsbook and a second with Fubo Gaming. Caesars Sportsbook will be an “official sports betting partner” with the Cavaliers and will open a best-in-class retail sportsbook on the street level inside the northwest atrium area of the team’s home venue, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Fubo Gaming will be an “official mobile sports betting partner” with the Cavs and will feature the opening of a 3,000 square foot sports lounge inside the arena.

The Cavs also announced a partnership with Betway in March 2021, which included an integrated marketing campaign to promote the sports betting and online gaming company through broadcast-visible signage and commercials, but did not include any specific mention of a sports betting Ohio market access deal. This could change moving forward.

The PGA Tour also agreed to a sports betting partnership with betPARX. betPARX will become the exclusive sports betting sponsor of the Memorial Tournament, held annually in the spring at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The tournament and betPARX will apply for a Type A license to offer online sports betting.

The MLS also got in on the action, as Tipico and the Columbus Crew announced a long-term partnership agreement in January 2022. The partnership allows Tipico to launch its mobile sports betting app in the state, receive entitle rights to marquee Crew assets, including a beer garden and club, and brand integration throughout Lower.com Field.

Operators with existing Ohio sports betting deals

Several sports betting operators also have an existing footprint in the state through partnerships with brick-and-mortar casinos. Penn National Gaming and its Barstool Sportsbook brand operates four Hollywood casinos in the state, Rush Street Interactive (and its BetRivers and SugarHouse brands) will have access through its Penn National Gaming partnership, Caesars owns Eldorado Scioto Downs in Franklin County, Hard Rock has a casino in Cincinnati, and BetMGM has access through MGM Northfield Park.

Jack Entertainment, an Ohio based company with two casinos in the state, may also attempt to get into the online sports betting space with its betJACK brand.

A number of operators have also agreed to market access deals:

  • WynnBET announced in Jan. 2021 it had secured market access to operate in Ohio whenever the state approved its sports betting bill.
  • Kindred announced in Sept. 2020 it had secured Ohio market access for its UniBet brand through a partnership with Penn National Gaming.
  • MaximBet announced in Sept. 2021 it secured Ohio market access.

DraftKings and FanDuel both currently operate daily fantasy sports offerings in the state and will absolutely be interested in a piece of Ohio online sports betting in 2023.