Which Ohio Sports Teams Have Applied for Legal Betting Licenses?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Which Ohio Sports Teams Have Applied for Legal Betting Licenses?

Now that we know Ohio sports betting will begin on January 1, the attention has shifted to where and how state residents will be able to place their wagers. For the time being, legal sports betting in Ohio will feature three different betting licenses. Type A approval will cover online operations. Type B will apply to brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. And Type C will refer to establishments given the ability to house sports betting kiosks. Though the list of operators for all these licenses are still being finalized, Ohio sports teams are expected to get first or second dibs on their initial bids.

But which Ohio sports teams actually applied for a legal sports betting license?

Under the current terms, candidates for legal sports betting approval had until July 15 to submit all their necessary information. And while the list of online operators and brick-and-mortar establishments who successfully met that deadline is fairly well-known, there hasn't been much news on which Ohio sports teams are joining the party.

Every organization across all professional sports was permitted to apply for a license, whether as a partner with a larger sportsbook or in an attempt to create their own or receive transactional kiosks for their gaming venues. However, not every club took advantage of this allowance. And after some extensive digging over at the Ohio Casino Control's website, we've cobbled together the official list of Ohio sports teams that should soon be able to offer on-site or online betting.

Cincinnati Bengals were First Among Ohio Sports Teams to Apply for Sports Betting License

Many Ohio sports teams waited until the last minute to submit their betting-license applications. But not the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. They submitted their application before all of the other franchises and were subsequently the first to be approved.

The Bengals will be awarded a Type A and Type B license, which will allow them offer sports wagering both online and in-person. They have also partnered with some sites that are among the best reviewed online sportsbooks in the business.

Cleveland Browns Followed in the Bengals' Footsteps

Given that the NFL is the most popular pro sports league in North America, as well as the most profitable betting draw in the country, you just knew both the Bengals and Cleveland Browns would pounce at the opportunity to procure legal gambling licenses. And soon after the Bengals submitted theirs, the Browns followed suit.

Like Cincinnati, Cleveland will also be awarded both Type A and Type B licenses, allowing them to establish an online and in-person footprint within the betting industry.

Current records also show the Browns have been approved to partner with Bally's Interactive sportsbook beginning in 2023.

Cleveland Cavaliers Just Beat the Application Deadline for Ohio Sports Teams

Although they didn't submit their application until the last minute, the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers are among the Ohio sports teams that will bag a legal betting license.

Their terms are identical to those for the Browns and Bengals. The Cavs will have a Type A and Type B Ohio sports betting license, and they've also been given the okay to seek out partnerships. 

As of July 15, they have filed for a partnership with Fubo Gaming, Inc., which is widely viewed as an up-and-comer in the legal sports betting space.

Cleveland Guardians and Columbus Blue Jackets Both Secure Ohio Sports Betting Licenses

Since the Cleveland Guardians (MLB) and Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) are owned by the same corporation (FBG Enterprises), they applied jointly for a universal sports betting license. Not surprisingly, both organizations were approved.

Ohio is doling out Type A and Type B licenses to each of the FBG-owned franchises. However, while the Blue Jackets did not file for an online partnership with an outside sportsbook, the Guardians will be working with Hillside Ohio LLC, which is operated by Bet365.

Cincinnati Reds Were Also Granted Their Own Sports Betting Licenses

Contrary to other Ohio sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds will be divvying up their partnership opportunities.

For their Type A license, the Reds will be linking up with Underdog Sports Wagering. Meanwhile, for their Type B license, they'll be teaming up with BetMGM to offer gambling services.

Cincinnati will also be maintaining both partnerships in a mobile capacity. BetMGM and Underdog Sports Wagering are each listed as mobile app service providers for the Reds, suggesting all three companies came to a agreement.

FC Cincinnati is Farming Out Their Sports Betting License

Where most of the Ohio sports teams are listed as the primary operator of their own sports betting licenses, FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer has agreed to a more unique partnership with SBOpco, the parent company for SuperBook betting, which has evolved into a major player within the online sports betting community.

According to the terms of their partnership, SuperBook is listed as the management services provider on both Type A and Type B licenses and has received approval to partner with secondary parties on mobile sports betting apps. FC Cincinnati is listed as that secondary party in all three categories, which ostensibly means SuperBook will be responsible for running the entire show, from day-to-day operations and branding to accounting logistics and fan experiences.

Compared to all of the other Ohio sports teams, this dynamic is anomalous. But it also makes sense. Major league soccer remains a relatively modest draw throughout Ohio, so deferring to a more experienced sports betting powerhouse offers a world of benefits—even if it means FC Cincinnati is ultimately receiving a smaller cut of the profits.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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