Ohio Sports Betting: Bengals, Cavaliers, and Guardians Approved for Licenses

While legal sports betting won't launch in Ohio until January 1, regulators on Wednesday approved licenses for 10 sports-betting "proprietors," such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sep 21, 2022 • 14:02 ET • 4 min read
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

All major league teams in Cincinnati and Cleveland have now obtained Ohio sports betting licenses, securing a path to market access in the Buckeye State for their wagering partners and ensuring consumers have a variety of gaming options come launch day. 

The Ohio Casino Control Commission met Wednesday to work through a stack of applications for retail and online sports betting licenses. 

While legal sports betting won't launch in Ohio until January 1, regulators on Wednesday approved licenses for 10 sports-betting "proprietors," such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers, who will offer wagering with the help of gaming operators. In the case of the Bengals and Cavs, for example, the teams are partnering with Betfred and Fubo to operate online sportsbooks.

Good to go (eventually)

Thus far, the Bengals are only seeking “Type-A” proprietor status, which is for online sports betting. The Cavs want Type-A and Type-B operations, the latter of which allows for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook as well. 

Representatives from the Bengals told the commission on Wednesday that they had mutually agreed with Betfred not to pursue a Type-B license at this time, as the National Football League does not allow in-person sports betting in any stadium.

Here is the list of the companies that conditionally received initial proprietor-level licenses on Wednesday (all of which have five-year terms and are effective Jan. 1, 2023), what type of license they received, and who they are partnering with for online sports betting: 

  • Cincinnati Bengals Inc. (Type A/Betfred)
  • FC Cincinnati Holdings LLC (Type A&B/SuperBook)
  • Northfield Park Associates LLC/MGM Northfield Park (Type A&B/BetMGM)
  • Scioto Downs Inc. (Type A&B/Caesars)
  • COLHOC Limited Partnership/Columbus Blue Jackets (Type A&B/Fanatics and Prophet Exchange)
  • Cavaliers Operating Company LLC/Cleveland Cavaliers (Type A&B/Fubo)
  • Central Ohio Gaming Ventures LLC/Hollywood Casino Columbus (Type A&B/Barstool)
  • Cleveland Guardians Baseball Company LLC (Type A&B/bet365)
  • Dayton Real Estate Ventures LLC/Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway (Type A&B/BetRivers)
  • PNK (Ohio) LLC/Belterra Park (Type A&B/FanDuel/Betway)

Wednesday’s licensees join a handful of others that have received their initial permits, including the Cincinnati Reds, Muirfield Village Golf Club, and the Cleveland Browns.

Several suppliers received approvals from regulators on Wednesday as well, including GeoComply Solutions Inc., a Vancouver-based company that helps sportsbooks detect the location of customers trying to place a bet. Regulators are also busy with other sports betting-related tasks, such as refining their approach to providing problem-gambling resources.

"As a reminder, complete, final, and Commission-approved versions of responsible gaming plans, required procedures, house rules, facility plans, geolocation procedures, and equipment test reports are due on November 2, if a business plans to start sports gaming or use the relevant equipment on January 1," the casino control commission said in an email to stakeholders on Wednesday. "Additionally, all standard sports gaming employee applications are due by November 2, to be guaranteed that those employees will be considered in time for January 1."

Plenty of options

Ohio’s sports-betting law initially allows for up to 25 online sports betting licenses to be awarded to “proprietors,” such as a casino or sports team, who can partner with up to two mobile management services providers, such as BetMGM or FanDuel. However, a proprietor will only be allowed a second mobile skin after demonstrating an economic benefit from the arrangement, among other things. 

Those online licenses are on top of 40 permits for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. There are also more than 1,000 bars, restaurants, and other businesses in line to host sports-betting kiosks. 

Members of the casino control commission approved licenses for 311 “Type-C” sports gaming hosts on Wednesday, which are effective Jan. 1, 2023. Those licenses are in addition to approvals for 500 other Type-C hosts granted earlier this month and in August.

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