As the state of Ohio gears up for legal sports betting by the end of the year, in-state sportsbook operators such as Bally Bet are jockeying for position in the marketplace. Regulators in the Buckeye State have yet to set an actual date to go live but the new NFL season in September remains a clear target.
As part of the company’s plans to enter Ohio as a legal US-based online sportsbook operator, Bally’s Corporation made a significant move to gain immediate brand recognition. Bally Bet is the mobile sports betting brand behind the company’s foray into the legal US sports betting industry.
Working through Bally Interactive as its digital division, this unit will become the official betting partner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.Jump to
Bally Interactive and the Cleveland Browns
While the financial terms of the deal were not announced, both sides described the partnership as “long term.” The following comments were part of a joint-statement that was recently issued:
“Pending appropriate licensing and regulatory approvals, the collaboration will be highlighted by a branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium, the launch of the mobile Bally Bet Sportsbook app in Ohio and free-to-play gaming opportunities for fans in the state.”
Legal sports betting in Ohio is tied to the state’s network of land-based casinos. Along with offering retail sportsbooks, casinos can partner with sportsbook operators to offer online betting through mobile apps.
Another part of the law gives in-state professional sports franchises the opportunity to partner with sportsbook operators. This partnership carries over to stadiums and arenas such as FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
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Bally’s Corporation is based in Rhode Island and it operates land-based casinos in 13 states. Partnering with the Browns creates a business presence in a state where the company does not have any existing gaming properties.
The addition of Ohio expands Bally’s overall market presence to 18 states. The company also owns and operates Monkey Knife Fight as a daily fantasy sports site.
There are 11 casinos and racinos up and running in the Buckeye State. Each one can operate as many as three mobile sports betting skins (brands). Major casino operators in the state include MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Penn National Gaming.
Ohio’s Current Push to Go Live
Towards the end of last year, Ohio became the 33rd state in the US to legalize sports betting. In late December of 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed the proper legislation into law. Since that point, state regulators have been working through the process to go live.
As one of the provisions of the new sports betting bill, the industry must be up and running by Jan. 1 of 2023. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has been focused on creating the necessary rules and regulations to govern the industry. The timeline for this process was originally set at six months.
As the regulatory process moves forward, meeting the early September deadline might be a reach. However, there is no indication that it will drag on beyond that self-imposed Jan. 1 deadline of next year.