Ohio Gaming Regulators Approve Three More Online Sportsbooks

Written By J.R. Duren on December 20, 2022
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With less than three weeks left until Ohio sports betting launches, another three online sportsbooks will join the party.

This past week, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) approved licenses for Bally Bet, Betway Sportsbook (Digital Gaming Corporation), and Underdog Sportsbook. The three new licenses bring the state’s mobile sportsbook licensee total to 20.

Per Ohio regulations, the operators had to partner with an existing entity to gain a license. Underdog is working with the Cincinnati Reds, Bally’s is working with the Cleveland Browns, and Betway joined with Belterra Park.

Underdog lives up to its name

Of these three companies, Underdog is the newest to U.S. sports betting. While the company’s fantasy sports platform is relatively popular, the company owns sports betting licenses in just two states.

Underdog President Jeremy Levin said in a statement that the Ohio license a “significant milestone” for the company.

“Today marks a significant milestone in Underdog’s history and we’re thrilled to have been granted a license to operate in Ohio. We’re building a unique, immersive sports betting platform and our partnership with the Cincinnati Reds will create an immediate channel to users in the state once our products are unveiled.”

Bally’s teams up with Browns

Bally Bet, the sports betting arm of Bally’s Interactive, will operate with a license from the Browns. Ohio will be the seventh state where Bally’s operates a sportsbook, according to PlayOhio. The other six states are Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and Virginia.

As part of its marriage with the Browns, BallyBet will operate a branded sports betting lounge at First Energy Stadium. Bally’s became the Browns’ official sports betting partner in April.

Partnerships like this are crucial for a company to gain a following ahead of a sports betting launch. Bally’s COO of North America Adi Dhandhania highlighted this factor in April.

“We are excited to partner with such a historic pro football franchise to secure sports betting market access in Ohio, and bring to its fan base more ways to engage through our online gaming platforms,” he said in a statement. “The Browns’ stadium and gameday atmosphere provide a great opportunity for us to showcase our Bally Bet Sportsbook app and Bally Play products in Ohio.”

Betway becomes Belterra’s second partner

If you’ve heard Belterra’s name mentioned along with sports betting, you’re right. Earlier this year, FanDuel earned a sports betting license through Belterra.

Ohio regulations give casinos and racinos like Belterra two mobile sports betting “skins.” So, FanDuel got the first and Betway got the second. Betway is now in eight states.

Ohio presents huge revenue opportunity for sportsbooks

According to PlayUSA‘s 2023 projections, Ohio has a chance to be a top-five revenue generator in the United States sports betting market.

The projection for the state’s handle is more than $8 billion and revenue is expected to hit around $600 million.

While there are plenty of handle and revenue slices in the Ohio gambling pie, there are plenty of sportsbooks, too.

It’s likely that more than 40 mobile and retail sportsbooks will launch on January 1. Each of those books will be battling for customers. Smaller books like Bally, Betway, and Underdog will have to compete with massive brands like DraftKings and FanDuel.

Partnerships can help boost a book’s profile. A bigger profile means a better chance at acquiring and keeping customers.

Of the three mobile sportsbooks the OCCC approved, Bally Bet should get the quickest start because the Browns will still be playing football after January 1. Underdog should see a nice spike in revenue this spring when the Reds start their season.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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