BetMGM to Open Ohio Sportsbook at Home of the Cincinnati Reds

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Oct 13, 2022 12:00 AM
BetMGM will be opening up a sportsbook at the home of the Cincinnati Reds.

With legal sports betting in Ohio set to begin on January 1, 2023, the official landscape is beginning to take shape. For the most part, the focus has been on which establishments are approved for gaming licenses. After all, everyone wants to open an Ohio sportsbook. The potential for profit is absurd.

This is especially true for professional sports franchises. That's why nearly every Ohio sports team applied for a betting license during the initial sign-up process. Obtaining one not only gives them the ability to offer sports betting on-site, but it allows them to partner with major gambling companies that will run the entire operation and compensate them purely for their association. And with legal Ohio sports betting now just a few weeks away, there has been a rush to hammer out and announce these deals.

True to form, Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds are the latest team to announce a partnership that will include opening an Ohio sportsbooks inside their stadium. They finalized a deal with BetMGM earlier this week. And the terms of it are worth noting, because it will likely become the standard for all future partnerships inside the state.

BetMGM Agrees to Open First Ohio Sportsbook Inside Great American Ball Park

As part of BetMGM's deal with Cincinnati, they will open an Ohio Sportsbook inside Great American Ball Park, which is where the Reds play. This will be just the second gaming operation the company has opened inside a gaming venue. Their first came in partnership with the Washington Nationals, also from MLB, inside Nationals Park in January 2022. This agreement with the Reds will look similar. Here are the details, courtesy of Dayton Daily News:

"Fans can only access the sportsbook from outside the ticketed areas of the ballpark on the arena plaza level entrance. The sportsbook will be open for fans to watch and wager on games all year long...It will also have signs inside Great American Ball Park, including one on the outfield wall, and messaging behind home plate as well as its own suite and club seats."

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There will be a rush from other sports betting companies to broker agreements like this one. It isn't just about year-round access to the local clientele—though that certainly helps. For companies like BetMGM, it's also about appealing to the widest audiences possible, both inside and outside the state.

Think about this partnership in particular. BetMGM's branding will be everywhere. People won't just see it when they visit the in-stadium Ohio sportsbook or when they attend Reds games. They will see the BetMGM brand on TV. It's akin to advertising in perpetuity. This setup also allows BetMGM to run special promotions that appeal to potential customers. They can offer in-game experiences from their suite and even cobble together specialized promo codes or betting lines for anyone who's on-site.

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How Much Do the Cincinnati Reds Stand to Gain from Ohio Sportsbook?

This is a question on everyone's mind. We know what the presence of an in-stadium Ohio sportsbook and the subsequent branding means to BetMGM. They stand to make millions of dollars, if not more, every year. Projected profits are especially lucrative if the sportsbook is inside the venue of a team forecasted to play deep into their postseason.

Profit margins are less certain for the sports franchises themselves. They are not actually operating the sportsbook or the mobile app. Instead, they are essentially leasing out space—both physical (where the sportsbook is located, the BetMGM suites) and symbolic (branding spots and mentions). Nobody quite knows how much this deal will be worth for the Reds. These agreements are still relatively new across professional sports in general, and the exact terms generally aren't released. We don't even know how long the contract signed between the Reds and BetMGM is slated to last.

Still, the prevailing belief is that no sports team will agree to a deal without raking in at least seven figures annually. In Cincinnati's case, it could be contingent upon how much revenue is actually generated, because legal sports betting will be so new once BetMGM's deal takes effect. But there's little doubt they just added seven figures per year to their bottom line.

Will More Teams Open an Ohio Sportsbook?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. The Cincinnati Reds and BetMGM may be the first to open their joint Ohio sportsbook, but they certainly won't be the last. Expect teams like the Cleveland Guardians (MLB), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and FC Cincinnati (MLS) to pursue similar setups with companies just as well known as BetMGM.

Two teams that won't be on the Ohio sportsbook list, though? That'd be the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. They might be two of the three most popular sports franchises in the state. But currently, the NFL doesn't allow teams to open individual on-site sportsbooks. The league has a highly lucrative deal signed with DraftKings and FanDuel at the moment, and they may not be able to negotiate the same type of payout if DraftKings and FanDuel aren't known as the "Official sportsbooks of the NFL."

That might change in time. For now, we should expect more and more MLB, MLS, NBA and NHL franchises in states with legal sports betting to start following in the footsteps of the Cincinnati Reds very soon.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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