Sports betting apps are a huge part of Ohio’s budding sports betting market, and 17 are currently available in the Buckeye State.
According to a recent PlayOhio survey, 79% of current Ohio bettors plan to bet online now that Ohio sports betting is available for residents.
That figure is three times as many as those who plan to utilize retail sportsbooks or betting kiosks.
A total of 25 sports betting apps initially applied for licenses in Ohio. Each app must partner with a retail sportsbook in order to enter the Ohio market. Some retail sportsbooks will be able to host two different online sportsbook brands.
Here’s what to expect from the sports betting apps heading to Ohio and which retail sportsbooks they’re partnered with.
|Sportsbook App||Retail Partner||Best Pitch|
|DraftKings||Hollywood Toledo||Promo carousel updated daily, easily becoming part of a player's regular digital routine.|
|FanDuel||Belterra Park||Easy-to-use software and market-leading same-game parlay options.|
|Caesars||Eldorado Scioto Downs||Trusted gambling brand with excellent odds.|
|BetMGM||MGM Northfield Park||Offers more control to players’ open wagers than other sportsbooks with its “edit my bet” feature.|
|Barstool Sportsbook||Hollywood Columbus (First Skin)||Barstool personalities have helped put app on the map.|
|Bet365||Cleveland Guardians||A dominant brand across the pond that is the go-to platform for many hardcore soccer fans in England.|
|PointsBet||Hollywood Mahoning Valley||Signature product PointsBetting hasn't quite moved the needle in US, where PointsBet has taken local strategy.|
|BetRivers||Hollywood Columbus (Second Skin)||Strong online casino brand (later??) that also delivers a solid sportsbook.|
|Bally Bet||Cleveland Browns||A big-time gambling brand that's largely unknown in online sports betting circles.|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock Cincinnati||Will utilize an all-new version of its app, which recently launched in Arizona and Virginia.|
|Tipico||Columbus Crew||Global sportsbook brand that generates its own odds and offers markets that aren’t typically found in the U.S.|
|Betfred||Cincinnati Bengals||UK-owned bookmaker that owns and operates over 1,400 betting shops in the UK.|
|Superbook||FC Cincinnati||One of the biggest sportsbooks in Las Vegas is moving beyond to other US markets.|
|Fanatics||Columbus Blue Jackets (First Skin)||Apparel company ambitiously expanding into sports gaming.|
|Fubo (Oct. 18 Update: FuboTV closed its gaming subsidary.)||Cleveland Cavaliers||Fubo Sportsbook was in line to launch in Ohio through a partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Fubo's parent company closed its gaming subsidiary in October.|
|Underdog||Cincinnati Reds||A growing fantasy sports platform offering best ball, daily drafts and pick’em contests.|
|PlayUp (April 19 Update: Withdrew application per settlement with OCCC.)||JACK Cleveland (First Skin)||Platform boasts fair limits, great pricing and quality customer service.|
|MaximBet (Nov. 16 Update: Maxim closed this sportsbook.)||JACK Cleveland (Second Skin)||Men’s lifestyle brand largely unknown in sports betting market.|
|MVGbet||Miami Valley Gaming||Delaware North company launching Miami Valley Gaming-branded sportsbook.|
|betPARX||Muirfield Village Golf Club||Relatively new online sportsbook whose app is still in an early version.|
|Out the Gate||SPIRE Institute||Unknown operator with a lot of question marks, though developers come with experience.|
|Prophet Exchange||Columbus Blue Jackets (Second Skin)||Peer-to-peer sports betting exchange that allows users to set prices for others to bet on.|
|Betway||Belterra Park (Second Skin)||Brand name has been visible at Cavs games but trying to make a more meaningful crack in US market.|
|WynnBet||JACK Thistledown||Betting and online casino app operating sports betting in nine states.|
|Betr||Hall of Fame Village||Microbetting app with Ohio native Jake Paul serving as face.|
|betJACK||JACK Cleveland Casino||JACK Entertainment developed its own sportsbook app, which launched as a play-money app in the spring but will transition to real money after Jan. 1.|
Most popular online sportsbooks heading to Ohio
DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook are by far the most familiar betting brands in the U.S. Both will have a big presence in Ohio come January, along with Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook, which also rank among the top-five most familiar brands in the country.
Ohio will also have access to five more sports betting apps that are widely used in the U.S. According to a Morning Consult survey of U.S. adults who said they bet on sports at least monthly, Barstool Sportsbook, Bet365 Sportsbook, PointsBet, BetRivers and Bally Bet are all used by between 31% and 37% of respondents.
Barstool Sportsbook’s Parent company, Penn National Gaming, has elevated its profile considerably since purchasing the former sports website, and the Barstool Sportsbook app is now live in 12 states.
Bet365 Sportsbook is a dominant brand across the pond that is the go-to platform for many hardcore soccer fans in England. Partnering with the Cleveland Cavaliers is a big opportunity for Bet365 Sportsbook Ohio to be on the starting line in the Buckeye State.
Hard Rock Cincinnati will soon launch an all-new version of the Hard Rock Sportsbook app.
Survey: Known brands will have advantage come launch
These familiar brands were among the ones cited by Ohio sports bettors in our survey as the apps they are most likely to use.
The top four sportsbooks current bettors plan to use when Ohio sports betting goes live are DraftKings (58.4%), FanDuel (52.3%), BetMGM (36.3%) and Caesars (28.6%). Barstool Sportsbook (20.0%) and PointsBet (14.5%) also should expect plenty of new customers.
Pro teams partnering with new market entrants
In addition to the Cleveland Browns (Bally Bet) and Cavaliers (Bet365), other Ohio sports franchises have partnered with online sportsbooks to launch apps in the state: Tipico (Columbus Crew), Betfred (Cincinnati Bengals), Superbook (FC Cincinnati), Fanatics (Columbus Blue Jackets), Underdog (Cincinnati Reds).
Tipico recently released the “Tipico ’96 Welcome Offer,” which provides Ohio sports bettors with a 150% deposit match and a $96 voucher good for Columbus Crew merchandise.
The Cleveland Cavaliers initially partnered with Fubo Sportsbook, but Fubo’s parent company closed its gaming subsidiary in October. Fubo announced that the decision was made after a strategic review of the Fubo Gaming business. The Cavaliers are unlikely to launch a sportsbook app on Jan. 1, but the team’s Ceasars Sportsbook retail location is still in the works.
The Betfred Sportsbook app will be the Bengals’ only foray into sports betting for now, as the team chose not to apply for a retail license, citing the NFL’s rule against in-stadium betting on game days. That didn’t stop the brand from jumping on a Super Bowl promo by paying out all Bengals Super Bowl LVII bets before the AFC Championship even began.
Underdog is a growing fantasy sports platform offering best ball, daily drafts and pick’em contests and making the transition to a full sportsbook in Ohio.
Ohio’s launch will be of particular interest for Tipico, which signed a long-term deal to become the exclusive sports betting and iGaming provider for media-giant Gannett.
Newer sports betting apps entering the Ohio market
JACK Cleveland already released a free-money version of its betJACK sportsbook app, which will transition to real money on Jan. 1. The company released a new betJACK commercial titled, “It’s An Ohio Thing,” leaning on its Ohio roots and offering a nod to some of the state’s all-time greats.
Miami Valley Gaming is set to move forward with its MVGbet sportsbook app. Its parent company, Delaware North, works with a Belgian company on a sports betting and casino platform called Betly. Expect the MVGbet to be similar to the Betly apps currently available in Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Muirfield Village Golf Club will partner with betPARX, a relatively new online sportsbook whose app is still in an early version.
One of the more surprising applicants for an Ohio sports betting license is the SPIRE Institute, a unique, sports-focused training and education organization. SPIRE has been granted both retail and online licenses. Its retail sportsbook will be located outside the high school as part of the larger campus, and SPIRE lists its online partner as Out the Gate, a relatively news sports betting, casino, racing and daily fantasy sports operator.
Prophet Exchange is a peer-to-peer sports betting exchange that allows users to set prices for others to bet on. Users can also bet on the prices offered by other users. The company partnered with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Betway USA is a mainstay in Europe and has experience in both the sports betting and online casino industries. Betway is partnered with Belterra Park.
WynnBet misses application deadline
Online sportsbook WynnBet filed its application on Aug. 15, a full month after the July 15 deadline for the first application window that guaranteed consideration for Jan. 1.
Once licensed, WynnBet will partner with JACK Thistledown Racino to operate its app in Ohio. JACK Thistledown applied to host an app on June 22, the first week the Ohio Casino Control Commission accepted applications for online sportsbook hosts.
The OCCC lists WynnBet as JACK Thistledown’s first skin. We’ll find out in the coming months whether WynnBet is licensed in time to go live on Ohio’s universal start date.
UPDATE Jan. 18: WynnBet is finally on its way to Ohio’s market. The betting app on Jan. 18 won a license from the Ohio Casino Control Commission.