Cleveland Cavaliers Debut Prediction Game With Interesting Sports Betting Potential

Written By Derek Helling on January 29, 2021

Although the future for the legalization of sports betting in Ohio is uncertain right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be in a desirable position if that ever happens.

The NBA franchise just debuted a renovated mobile app, complete with a new prediction game called Cavs Pick ‘Em.

The game, which is free to play, asks users to predict what will happen on the court during Cleveland games. Correct guesses earn points that players can redeem for prizes, one of which is a $1,000 jackpot offered during each game.

While that may seem like just a way to engage fans with the on-court product, it could be so much more if legal sportsbooks ever do open in the Buckeye State.

What is Cavs Pick ‘Em?

The game has many ways fans can interact with it on the app.

The prediction game will provide some questions, like how many points the Cavaliers will score tonight, available until tipoff. New questions will become available throughout the game, as well. Also, the app provides a real-time leaderboard so players know where they stand in relation to earning prizes.

Other interactive features in the app, some of which earn points toward prize redemption, include:

  • Cavaliers 50/50 raffle: Purchase tickets for a weekly charity raffle and see if you’ve won, all in the app.
  • Cavs arcade games: The bank is open all the time on this feature, in which players try their hands at scoring virtual baskets.
  • Cavaliers Community Foundation auction: Bid on experiences and merchandise with proceeds going to the foundation.
  • Cavs Sounds: Enjoy a good playlist? Darius Garland hooks you up with tracks on either Apple Music or Spotify.
  • Cavs trivia: Improve your knowledge of the NBA franchise by answering questions, which are regularly refreshed.
  • Match ‘Em game: Match symbols on the screen to win.

That robust menu is a summation of what the product encompasses in the present. It also has a lot of future potential depending on how things shake out in the state.

What future does Cavs Pick ‘Em hold?

There are several immediate monetization opportunities in this content that have nothing to do with gambling. For instance, sponsors of the Cavs can promote their products by working them into the game prizes.

However, gambling companies could also make good use of the Cavs Pick ‘Em.

Game building valuable customer base

Users have to register accounts with the app to play. That gives the Cavaliers a bevy of contact points to potentially share with a regulated sportsbook operator.

The Cavaliers already stand as an attractive partner for such a company simply due to the fact that they’re an NBA team. This just sweetens the deal. Moreover, it sets up the franchise to act as the book itself should it take that path.

Of course, that may not be an option for the team. So far, few states with legal sportsbooks have included sports teams as entities able to acquire licenses to run sportsbooks. Technically, those teams, like the Chicago CubsWashington Nationals, and Washington Football Team, are getting into the business not as sports franchises but as the owners of stadiums.

Path to partnering with legal sportsbook?

That may play into this situation in the future as well, should Ohio law allow. Although the Gateway Economic Development Corporation technically owns Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert also runs a management company that manages the franchise’s home arena.

Thus, Gateway could apply for the license then contract with that management company to actually run its sports betting operations. Under the same umbrella, the Cavs could then share the leads generated by Cavs Pick ‘Em with that sportsbook.

All that only exists in the land of hypotheticals right now, however. Ohioans might be even more interested in when any of this could become reality than they are even in how the Cavs will fare this season.

What is the status of Ohio sports betting?

After a near-win in 2020, Ohio feels the pressure of expanding gambling this year. So far in this legislative term, the action on that front has included the formation of a Senate committee to explore gaming.

The legalization of sports betting does have the support of Gov. Mike DeWine and Rep. Brigid Kelly. Kelly said she is hopeful it will happen in 2021. Handicapping the chances of this year, she said a presumptive bill would start past the 50-yard line.

If legalization does occur this year, it could mean a launch of sportsbooks in late 2021 or early 2022. In that situation, Cavs Pick ‘Em could take on an entirely new dynamic for the Cavaliers’ 2021-22 season.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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