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Pro Teams Line Up To Offer Ohio Sports Betting As 1st Application Window Closes

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 4 mins

Pro Teams Line Up To Offer Ohio Sports Betting As 1st Application Window Closes

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Several professional sports franchises are lining up to offer sports betting in Ohio, which could soon rival Arizona for the most pro teams with sports betting partnerships.

The Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Guardians, the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, Major League Soccer franchises in Columbus and Cincinnati, the Columbus Blue Jackets, even the home golf course of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament -- are all vying for a piece of legal sports betting in the Buckeye State.

Overall, the list of applicants to host legal Ohio sports betting grew exponentially on July 15 (the first application window deadline), according to the latest update provided by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. 

In the commission’s previous update, the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals were the lone pro sports team to have applied for a Type A license, which is designated for online sportsbooks. The Bengals later announced a partnership with sportsbook operator Betfred.

Now, they have lots of company. 

That company includes: The Cleveland Browns of the NFL, the Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA, the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL, the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati of Major League Baseball, and Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, which hosts Jack Nicklaus’ annual Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour.

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Ohio Sports Betting: Several Pro Teams To Open Sportsbooks

The Ohio law allows each pro sports entity to partner with up to two sportsbooks, and license applications are being submitted in advance of the universal start date on January 1, 2023. The application deadline for primary mobile sports providers was July 15. 

The application window for secondary mobile sports providers opened the same day and will run through Aug. 15.

The updated list also denoted primary online sportsbook partners for the sports franchises: BallyBet with the Browns, Tipico with the Crew, Underdog with the Reds, Fubo with the Cavaliers, Fanatics with the Blue Jackets, Bet365 with the Guardians, SuperBook with FC Cincinnati, and Parx with Muirfield Village. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, which has also applied for a Type A license, listed Instabet as its primary mobile provider. 

Several Ohio sports entities have also applied for Type B licenses, which are designated for retail sportsbooks. 

The Browns’ Type B application also listed Bally’s as a service provider, while the Blue Jackets and Guardians each paired with Fanatics, FC Cincinnati with SuperBook, Muirfield Village with Parx, the Pro Football Hall of Fame with BetRivers, the Reds with BetMGM and the Cavaliers with William Hill (which operates Caesars Sportsbook).

In February, the Cavaliers and Caesars announced plans for a retail sportsbook that will be located in the NBA team’s home arena and will be open by Ohio’s launch date. Likewise, the Browns had unveiled plans for a Bally-branded lounge inside the home stadium of the NFL team.

Ohio Sports Betting: 20 Online Sportsbook Applications Received 

A total of 20 online sportsbooks have thus far applied for licenses, several of them partnering with retail casinos or racinos. That list includes BetMGM, partnering with MGM Northfield Park; William Hill, with Scioto Downs; Barstool with Hollywood Casino Columbus; DraftKings with Hollywood Casino Toledo; PointsBet with Hollywood at Mahoning Valley; PlayUp with JACK Cleveland and Thistledown; Seminole Hard Rock Digital with Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati; and Out of the Gate with the Spire sports training institute.

Other applicants for Type B retail casino licenses include JACK Cleveland and Thistledown, with JACK Cleveland Casino as sports betting service provider; MGM Northfield Park with BetMGM; Scioto Downs with William Hill; Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati with Seminole Hard Rock Digital; and Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Hollywood Casino Toledo and Hollywood Mahoning Valley with Barstool.

Belterra Park, Ravencrest Partners, Phantom Fireworks, and Miami Valley Gaming and Racing have also applied for Type B licenses, but have no sports betting service partner yet listed. 

Four entities have also applied for Type C licenses, which are designated for bars and restaurants that will feature sports betting kiosks. The window for Type C applications opened on July 15, and close on August 15.

Ohio is shaping up to be one of the biggest sports betting markets in the nation, on par with the likes of New Jersey and Colorado (24 sportsbooks each). The state estimates Ohio sports betting will generate $1.1 billion in the first year and could return as much as $3.3 billion in ensuing years.

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About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.