Fubo Gaming announced a sudden end to its sportsbook operations in October, and the news had a ripple effect on sports betting in Ohio.
“This was not an easy decision, and it was made after much careful deliberation,” Fubo CEO David Gandler said on Nov. 4 during the company’s Q3 earnings call. “Ultimately, we felt the decision was prudent in support of our profitability goals, allowing us to focus all of our resources on our core streaming business.”
The news left the Cleveland Cavaliers, who formed a digital sports betting partnership with Fubo early in the year, searching for a mobile sports wagering partner. The Cavaliers haven’t shared any specifics on plans for a new digital betting partner — requests for comment from OH Bets weren’t immediately returned — but they have some options. Legal sports betting goes live in Ohio on Jan. 1.
Possible digital partners
The Cavaliers have an existing retail sports betting partnership with Caesars Sportsbook, which was announced in February.
“As we prepare to launch sports betting in Ohio later this year, this wide-ranging partnership enables us to connect with the Cavs’ passionate and highly engaged fanbase,” Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital, said in a press release. “Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will be a first-class venue providing an exciting atmosphere for sports betting and more.”
Caesars Sportsbook could theoretically form a digital partnership with the Cavaliers, but it’s worth noting Caesars already has a digital partnership with Scioto Downs. Would the operator need or want an additional digital partnership?
Betway and the Cavaliers also have an existing sports betting partnership, which was announced in March of 2021. The operator has a notable marketing presence on the team’s social media channels.
Home dub.@betwayusa | #LetEmKnow
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 11, 2022
“We are honored to enter into a partnership deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Betway CEO Anthony Werkman said in a 2021 press release. “The Cavs have proved to be one of the most consistent and exciting teams in the NBA in recent years and we’re looking forward to seeing the Betway brand associated with them.”
Betway, which is available in Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, doesn’t have an existing digital sports betting partner in Ohio. The partnership would make some sense, given the existing relationship. The Cavaliers could also opt for a white-label sportsbook.
The Cavs are currently the only major professional sports franchise in Ohio without a digital betting partner. The Cincinnati Reds are partnered with Underdog, the Cincinnati Bengals are partnered with Betfred, and FC Cincinnati is partnered with SuperBook Sports. The Cleveland Guardians are partnered with bet365, and the Cleveland Browns are partnered with Bally Bet. The Columbus Blue Jackets are partnered with Fanatics, and the Columbus Crew are partnered with Tipico.
Launch on Jan. 1
Sports betting platforms and some brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will go live in Ohio at midnight as 2023 begins. Up to 18 mobile operators could launch on Jan. 1, including bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and WynnBET.
Given the Cavaliers’ delay in announcing a new digital partnership — the Cavs have been without a mobile partner since October — the NBA franchise seems content with a slower process to make a new mobile betting deal.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission, the state’s sports betting regulator, is meeting Wednesday. The agenda for the meeting has yet to be announced, although there’s a possibility the OCCC could approve more licensees.
Photo: David Richard/USA TODAY