Fanatics, FanDuel, and the Cincinnati Bengals are the latest entities to apply for Ohio sports betting licenses, according to the weekly update from the Ohio Casino Control Commission on Friday. That means the biggest operator with market access that has not yet applied is Caesars Sportsbook. The deadline to be in the first batch of applicants, which the OCCC said assures approval for the Jan. 1 universal launch, is Friday.
To date, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, Penn National Gaming, and PointsBet have all applied for Mobile Management Services Provider licenses, and all but Fanatics have a clear path to market access in Ohio. Speculation has been swirling for months about how and where Fanatics, a massive sports merchandise company that has been expanding into other related businesses, will offer sports betting in the U.S.
The filing in the U.S. is the second in a month, after it filed for a wagering license in Maryland in June. The company would have market access in California should Proposition 27, backed by Fanatics and six national sports betting operators, pass on the November ballot.
But what would a Fanatics wagering site will look like? The company has been tight-lipped, though there is speculation that a purchase of a sports betting platform — Kambi, PointsBet, and Rush Street Interactive have all been floated as acquisition targets — is in the works. In order to establish itself quickly, Fanatics would likely need to buy an existing platform, and preferably one that already has market access in multiple U.S. jurisdictions. Mobile sports betting is not yet live in Maryland.
Four with market access yet to apply
In Ohio, FanDuel has market access through Boyd Gaming’s Belterra Racino and has plans for both retail and digital sportsbooks, while the Bengals have not yet announced a partner.
Besides Caesars, Bally’s, Hard Rock, and Rush Street Interactive all have market access, but have not yet applied for MMSP licenses. Bally’s has an existing deal with the Cleveland Browns, though the team has not applied for a proprietor’s license. Hard Rock has market access through its Cincinnati casino, which has not applied for a proprietor’s license, and Rush Street Interactive has market access through deals with both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Penn National Gaming. Rush Street has two digital platforms — BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse — it could use.
The Hall of Fame is one of four brick-and-mortar locations to apply for a proprietor’s license, and while Penn National has filed for a MMSP license, none of its four retail casinos have applied for proprietor’s licenses. JACK Entertainment owns casinos in Cleveland and at the Thistledown Racetrack and, like the Hall of Fame, has applied for Proprietor A and B licenses.