The Ohio Slate: Despite Watson’s Latest Drama, Sportsbooks Still Project Browns As Contenders

Also: Ohio Casino Control Commission releases updated FAQs and offers warnings to prospective applicants concerning statutes and rules.
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The Ohio Slate is a weekly look at developments in Ohio’s gaming industry, including betting angles as the state prepares to launch legal sportsbooks on Jan. 1, 2023.

Deshaun Watson continues to take part in the Cleveland Browns voluntary workouts just like any other member of the team.

The Browns’ projected starting quarterback, who was acquired in March in a trade with the Houston Texans, is working hard alongside his new teammates to master Cleveland’s offensive playbook. He’s gone about his business like someone who isn’t facing accusations from 24 women among the reported 66 massage therapists he was connected with over a span of less than two years. 

Although those two dozen women have filed civil lawsuits against him, Watson has denied any inappropriate sexual conduct during massage appointments. The NFL has not made an announcement on if he’ll have to serve a suspension should the league determine that the talented quarterback violated the league’s code of conduct.

Despite not knowing what will come of his legal issues, sportsbooks haven’t shied away from liking the Browns and Watson for futures bets. FanDuel still has odds of +1000 on the Browns winning the AFC, a year after they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. Only the Buffalo Bills (+350), Kansas City Chiefs (+500), Los Angeles Chargers (+850), and Denver Broncos (+850) have shorter odds. And none of those teams are dealing with any offseason, off-the-field controversies to compare with what’s happening in Cleveland.

Interestingly, FanDuel’s odds to win the AFC North don’t favor Cleveland (+230). The sportsbook has odds of +175 on Baltimore winning the division and +200 on the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, even though both have longer odds than the Browns to win the conference.

Furthermore, FanDuel has odds of +2800 on Watson being named the AP NFL regular season MVP. And FanDuel has odds of +1600 on Watson winning the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year award while also offering odds of +1400 on former Browns starter Baker Mayfield earning that award.

FanDuel has odds of -195 on the Browns winning 10-plus games during the regular season, only slightly less optimistic than the -220 odds on the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams winning 10-plus games.

ICYMI: What happened in Ohio gaming this week

Legislation passes to avoid forcing sportsbooks to pay taxes daily

Expect BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and other big operators in Ohio

Ohio casino, racino revenue for May totals $202 million

Commission FAQs address user recruitment

The Ohio Casino Control Commission emailed its latest updated FAQs to sports gaming stakeholders on Tuesday.

The updates focused on advertising, marketing, and user recruitment. The email also delivered a warning to prospective applicants, emphasizing “the importance of prospective applicants following these FAQs and the related statutory provisions and proposed rules” on advertising, marketing, and user recruitment. The email states, “The Commission asks all prospective applicants to remember customer experiences in rolling out advertising campaigns or engaging in user recruitment. Otherwise, the Commission may need to take administrative action or change its stance on allowing these activities ahead of launch.”

The email concludes by stating that “all prospective applicants should take these advertising responsibilities seriously and work with the Commission to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”

The commission didn’t identify any specific incidents that led to the FAQs updates, but it appears something happened concerning “responsible advertising of sports gaming as a gambling product” that caused the commission to reach out to stakeholders.

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