Sports betting in Ohio will soon be live, which means the marketing wars with sportsbooks fighting for early market share are about to truly begun.
There will always be bettors who favor the biggest names in US sports betting simply because they might be the only brands they know. Others, though, will likely look to see who their favorite casino or sports team is partnering with to see what deals are being offered.
The fact that every sportsbook has the same go-live time of midnight on Jan. 1 leaves the door open for some smaller brands to pick up more OH sports betting share than in other states.
Ohio football team partners have big opportunity
There is one thing that can be said about Ohio’s pro football teams: regardless of their records each year, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns have plenty of loyal fans. That could be a big benefit for their main sports betting partners, neither of which are big operators.
BallyBet will launch mobile and run the retail sportsbook for the Browns, but according to Ohio regulators does not plan to launch on Jan. 1. The Bengals are not opening a retail book yet but partnered with Betfred for mobile sports betting.
There will be at least two regular-season games for both teams in January, with Cincinnati getting a marquee Monday Night Football matchup with the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 2. Both operators could see handle share higher than what would normally be expected because of to those two weekends of exposure.
There is another pro football organization involved in Ohio sports betting as well: the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Betr, the micro-betting focused sportsbook backed in part by Jake Paul, is its mobile betting partner while Rush Street Interactive‘s BetRivers will run the retail book.
Baseball sports betting partners could shine too
Ohio’s two MLB teams could also provide big lifts to their sports betting partners.
The Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Guardians have different partners for retail and online betting. The Reds partnered with daily fantasy sports operator Underdog Sports for its debut in the mobile sports betting world and went with BetMGM for its retail partner.
The Guardians have two partners with big names that are thus far unproven in the US. Cleveland’s mobile partner is international betting powerhouse bet365 while the retail book will be handled by Fanatics.
Who will partner with Cavaliers?
Fubo was in a good position to grab Ohio sports betting market share through its mobile partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those plans came to a halt, though, when Fubo announced it was ending its sportsbook business immediately in October.
At the time, the Cavaliers told LSR they would “proceed accordingly after gathering more information.” The team did not respond to recent requests to follow up.
That opens up an opportunity for a smaller book to sign a meaningful partnership, though that launch could come significantly after the Jan. 1 launch at this point. The Cavaliers are partnered with Caesars Sportsbook for a retail sportsbook.