Retail and Online Sports Betting Will Make Ohio a Betting Hotspot When Sports Betting Launches Jan. 1


This render shows Caesars Sportsbook opening at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.Cleveland Cavaliers

The 10,000-square-foot Caesars Sportsbook that will begin taking bets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in early January sits on a busy downtown Cleveland thoroughfare, where it will serve both betting-inclined Cavaliers fans at a kiosk or at a window during a game and wave to potential bettors who pass.

One of eight professional teams in Ohio granted access to retail sports betting licenses, the Cavaliers will likely see the biggest windfall of all, thanks to the prime retail location in a metropolitan area. of 2 million people as well as their status as the only NBA franchise in the state. The state opens sports betting on January 1.

Along with all of Ohio, which will be the fourth most populous state to allow online sports betting, the Cavs’ footprint includes western Pennsylvania, all of West Virginia and Kentucky. Based on that, and a wide array of competitors drawn to the most inclusive licensing framework in the nation, industry insiders estimate the Cavs could add nearly $10 million a year in revenue from the newly created sponsorship category. created, the majority coming from his 10-year contract with Caesars.

With the exception of the Cincinnati Bengals, which say they are waiting due to NFL restrictions on stadium betting, all professional teams in the state have applied for retail licenses and have aligned themselves with sportsbooks. . The same goes for the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, host of the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton.

They all also enjoyed access to statewide mobile licenses, the rights to which they sold to sportsbooks, usually on 10-year terms.

The resulting lineup of dance partners is dizzying – and unlike anything seen elsewhere.

The Cleveland Guardians have agreements with BetFanatics and Bet365. The Cleveland Browns clinched Bally’s. The Cincinnati Reds have locked out BetMGM and Underdog, a fantasy operator that plans to expand into sports betting next year. The Bengals met Betfred. The Columbus Blue Jackets got BetFanatics and Prophet Exchange, a newcomer that launched in New Jersey in August. The Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati have exclusive deals with Tipico and SuperBook, respectively.

And those are just the agreements related to retail or online licensing. There will also be more traditional sponsorships.

Along with Caesars, the Cavs landed UK-based Betway and recently shut down Fubo Sportsbook, which made the deal to gain market access and expose its streaming service. With Fubo in the wind, the Cavs are now exploring options for a replacement.

Most of these transactions come from outside the sports betting circle that has dominated in other states, largely because these operators already had market access and retail opportunities in place. FanDuel, DraftKings and PointsBet have all been licensed online through land-based casino or pari-mutuel betting facilities. Barstool Sportsbook entered through parent company Penn National, which operates casinos in Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown. The bar stool will have retail sales in all three cases. FanDuel will open at Belterra Park Racetrack in Cincinnati.

The extent of sports betting that has secured outlets in Ohio is unparalleled.

In Cleveland, Fanatics has a deal to open at Progressive Field while Bally’s has rights to the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium, where it will start as a betting parlor and hopes the NFL will eventually ease its restrictions. In Cincinnati, BetMGM is set to open at Great American Ball Park while SuperBook, a staple of Las Vegas’ Westgate Hotel for nearly three decades, has struck a deal to open its third outlet at FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium. . The Blue Jackets also have a retail agreement with Fanatics, while the Crew has one with Tipico, better known as the official sportsbook of USA Today and Gannett.

There are also agreements in place for Parx to open a shop at Muirfield Village Golf Club and for BetRivers to open a location at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village.

“We expect this to be one of the most competitive states in the country,” said Matt Prevost, chief revenue officer of BetMGM, which gained market access through its racino near Cleveland. “The combination of truly open access and a variety of different outlets will mean that virtually every operator with an interest in pursuing the market will have a presence in Ohio.”

BetMGM plans to open at Great American Ball Park when it launches in the state on Jan. 1, in a restaurant on the left corner accessible from a stadium plaza, but not from inside the stadium, per MLB rules. Plans call for larger construction elsewhere in the park.

While most stadiums and arenas won’t be open at the state’s launch, their eventual rollout will bring the most sports betting options to Ohio this side of Nevada, complete with kiosks. bets installed in more than 1,000 bars, restaurants and grocery stores.

“Retail is so widespread and there are so many potential outlets that in choosing to invest in an outlet you need to be aware of how many other opportunities there are for people to place paris,” Prevost said. “The idea of ​​putting a few kiosks in a small place doesn’t appeal to us as much, because we expect those locations to be fairly common. So, as a brand, we look for sites that combine an experience with the transaction of placing a bet. A ballpark or arena will do this.

Even before Ohio lawmakers landed on the framework they passed last December, Cavaliers management was in exploratory talks with sportsbooks, working to carve out the planned new sponsor category in a way that maximizes income.

They had seen many of their counterparts in states in which teams could host retail opt for exclusivity, especially in states in which the agreement also conferred an online license. But the Cavs thought they could generate more two or three deals than just one.

“We had a ton of warm conversations with a ton of different gaming platforms,” ​​Cavaliers CEO Nic Barlage said. “Retail. Mobile. Some just in the vein of partnership. Ultimately, you really have to go into a prescriptive needs analysis with each of these partners to ultimately understand what’s important to them. really is about high-end marketing, for others it’s about having a business presence, for some it’s just about being able to access a mobile license.

BetMGM is planning a retail bookmaker at the Great American Ball Park’s Machine Room / cincinnati reds

It was from those conversations that the Cavs landed on a strategy that got them into the category ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season, even before Ohio was legalized, through a deal with Betway, which has placed its brand on visible positions during NBA games broadcast in the dozen European countries in which it operates and began connecting with Cavs fans via free play.

Retail went to Caesars, which had successfully operated a book in a similar two-story footprint at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Because Caesars had market access through its harness track in Columbus, the Cavs were able to include this component in a 10 year contract with Fubo.

Caesars’ interest in Cleveland retail highlights the value he sees in a storefront — and especially one there.

From a volume perspective, retail sportsbooks are dwarfed by their mobile counterparts, accounting for just 9% of the $73 billion US sportsbooks managed in the 12 months ending in august. But they are profitable. And Caesars, BetMGM and other operators see additional benefits.

“A lot of people are going to find out about the brand,” said Dan Shapiro, senior vice president and chief development officer at Caesars Digital. “When people come into the arena for events, they’re going to see us. We are going to have ambassadors there. Maybe they make a retail bet or decide to sign up for a mobile account. Or if they already have one, maybe they reactivate it by putting money in their account before going to their place. So there are a lot of parts.

“When you layer sponsorship with the Cavs and the assets they have, I think it’s a great opportunity to reach fans and keep them engaged.”


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