Sportsbook newcomer Underdog Fantasy and sports merchandise giant Fanatics are looking to make their names known in Ohio.
The pair are among a big group of entities that filed legal sports wagering applications ahead of a July 15 deadline that should position them to go live on the Jan. 1 universal launch date.
Underdog’s application is only its second anywhere in the U.S. — the company, which is planning a move into sports betting, is already licensed in Colorado and has plans to launch in both states in early 2023. Fanatics continues to make inroads in sports betting though it doesn’t yet have a platform. The company has also applied for a license in Maryland, is among the major backers of a California digital sports betting initiative, and tried to get into New York earlier this year.
Underdog will partner with the MLB Cincinnati Reds on a digital platform, while Fanatics applied for three licenses — as partners in retail and online sportsbooks with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and as partners with the MLB Cleveland Guardians for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
MGM appears to have plans for three retail sportsbooks — one each at its MGM Northfield Casino, at the Reds’ Great American Ballpark, and at the Cedar Downs OTB. FanDuel applied for a license, but didn’t supply who its “proprietor partner” is, while Belterra Park Gaming Racino doesn’t list a Mobile Management Services Provider (MMSP) or Management Services Provider (MSP). Belterra is owned by Boyd Gaming, and FanDuel has market access in Ohio through an existing deal with Boyd.
Only one major pro venue hasn’t applied
All of the eligible casinos/racinos in Ohio submitted applications for Type A licenses, which allow for mobile wagering, and Type B licenses, which allow for retail locations, and most have mobile and/or retail partnerships in place. The Ohio Casino Control Commission last Friday began accepting applications for Type C licenses, which are for smaller businesses and will allow for kiosks, and for second MMSP applications for larger entities.
On July 15, the commission closed the first application window to apply for Type A, B, and C proprietor licenses, first designated MMSPs, and MSPs. Applicants were encouraged to submit applications by the deadline in order to ensure consideration for approval to launch on the universal start date.
Of the eligible professional sports venues, all but the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course submitted some type of application.
Ohio #sportsbetting update: The 2nd application window will close 8/15/22. If you're interested in submitting an application with the Ohio Casino Control Commission, log into Playbook for all of the forms you’ll need to submit.
Sign up here: https://t.co/wq4wkhofy6 pic.twitter.com/X6zmvXPXuT
— OddsOnCompliance (@OddsOnData) July 19, 2022
Penn National Gaming has the biggest stake of any gaming company in Ohio with four brick-and-mortar locations. The company will have Barstool Sportsbook-branded physical books at each of its four locations, while a Barstool Sportsbook platform will be connected to the Columbus location. DraftKings and PointsBet each also applied for MMSPs and will have platforms tethered to PNG properties, which have eight mobile platforms (two per location) available.
Who else will be in Ohio?
Here’s a look at what the state’s other casinos will offer:
Scioto Downs: Owned by Caesars through Eldorado Gaming, Scioto Downs will have Caesars Sportsbook-branded retail and digital platforms.
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati: The company will have a Hard Rock sportsbook on site and a Hard Rock Digital mobile platform.
MGM Northfield Park: The company will operate a BetMGM-branded brick-and-mortar sportsbook and a digital platform.
JACK Entertainment: At both its Cleveland and Thistledown locations, the company will debut BetJACK retail sportsbooks while the Cleveland location will partner with PlayUp, likely for a BetJACK-branded mobile site. Thistledown Racino has not yet announced a mobile partner.
Miami Valley Gaming Racino: The company did not list any mobile or retail partners.
Pro teams partner with sportbooks
When Ohio legalized, it became the fifth state to allow for professional sports teams or venues to get a piece of the sports betting pie. Since then, Kansas has agreed to let its pro sports venues partner with casinos for sports betting. So far, all but one Ohio pro franchise or location — which includes a PGA Tour stop and a NASCAR track — have applied for licenses.
Among the pro sports teams, the NFL’s reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals have a mobile partnership with Betfred, but haven’t indicated if they have or will have a retail partner. The Cleveland Browns have a mobile deal with Bally’s and a retail partnership with Caesars.
Bengals announce official betting partnership with @Betfred in advance of legalized sports betting in Ohio. #RuleTheJungle pic.twitter.com/oFC0zOAGGB
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) July 13, 2022
Besides the mobile deal with Underdog, the Reds have a retail partnership with MGM, and bet365 will have a mobile presence through the Guardians, who, as mentioned above, will have a Fanatics-branded retail location.
The MLS Columbus Crew have a mobile agreement with Tipico, but have not yet applied for a Type B retail license, while FC Cincinnati has mobile and retail partnerships with Superbook Sports. The latter only recently began expanding out of Nevada and now has retail locations in Colorado and New Jersey and mobile platforms in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Tennessee.
The NBA Cleveland Cavaliers have a mobile partnership with Fubo Sportsbook and a retail deal with Caesars, while the Blue Jackets also have retail and mobile partnerships with Fanatics.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame — the first entity of its kind anywhere in the U.S. to be granted the right to offer wagering — has a mobile partnership with Instabet and a retail deal with Rush Street Interactive. The PGA Tour’s Muirfield Village Golf Club, which annually hosts the Memorial Tournament, has mobile and retail partnerships with Parx Interactive.
Sports academy applies for license
Ohio’s new sports betting law allows for a wide range of entities to apply for wagering licenses, and the most recent batch of applications reflects that diversity. Among the applicants are Geneva Sports/SPIRE, which appears to be a sports academy in metro Cleveland that applied for mobile and retail licenses with partner Out the Gate. Phantom Fireworks, the leading retailer of consumer fireworks in the state, and Ravencrest Partners, which appears to be a real estate company, both applied for retail, or Type B, licenses, but did not list partners. JSJ Klub, which owns Ohio-based restaurant chain Harry Buffalo, applied for for a retail license and listed PointsBet as its partner.
How about this? SPIRE Institute, a sports-focused high school in Ohio that enrolled LaMelo Ball, among other prominent athletes, applied for a betting license in the state's first window of applications. https://t.co/uCsCZR3PMM
— Grant Mitchell (@milemitchell) July 18, 2022
The deadline date for the first installment window also served as the opening date for the second designated application window specifically assigned for Type C sports gaming hosts and second designated MMSPs. The deadline for the second window is Aug. 15.
The commission provides an updated list of applicants on Friday evenings.