Cincinnati Bengals name Betfred official sports betting partner after applying for Ohio license

The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and Betfred announced Wednesday a multi-year partnership to make the brand the team’s official sports betting partner, ahead of market launch on January 1, 2023. Betfred plans to launch a mobile sports betting app for players to place wagers on sporting events anywhere in the state. The announcement follows the Bengals’ application for a proprietor license on Tuesday.

“The Bengals continue to look for exciting new ways to enhance the fan experience and this partnership will provide additional opportunities to engage with our fans,” said Brian Sells, Bengals Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer. “We look forward to working with Betfred to create fun, fan-focused activations that add to the excitement on game day.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with the Bengals as we continue to expand Betfred across the US and into Ohio with the launch of sports betting in the near future,” said Mark Stebbings, Betfred Group Chief Operating Officer. “We look forward to engaging with fans across the state as we introduce them to unique betting promotions and content throughout the year”.

Betfred USA is the wholly owned US subsidiary of Betfred Group, a UK-based bookmaker that owns and operates over 1,400 betting shops in the UK with over 50 years of experience. Betfred is currently operating in six states in the US. The partnership also includes a variety of fan engagement activations, promotions, and free-to-play gaming opportunities. Betfred was represented in the deal by SCCG Management.

The announcement comes after the Cincinnati Bengals applied for a sports betting proprietor license in Ohio on Tuesday, just three days before the initial application window in the Ohio Casino Control Commission closes. They are one of eight companies to seek a proprietor license since June 15, when state officials made 85 licenses available in three different categories: online betting, retail sportsbooks, and kiosk betting for bars and restaurants.

A Type A license would allow the Bengals to partner with two companies and share sports betting apps profits. A Type A license costs the Bengals up to $3.33 million. While the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds and MLS’ FC Cincinnati have hinted at wanting to foray into this area as well, they have yet to apply.

“We are talking daily with a lot of folks that are interested,” Jessica Franks, spokeswoman for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told WCPO 9 News. “The deadline is just for those folks who want to be guaranteed to be considered for starting on January 1. We’re not going to stop accepting applications on July 16”.

State officials estimate Ohio sports betting will be a $1 billion industry in its first year, growing to $3.35 billion within a few years. But analysts have predicted Ohio could grow to between $8 billion and $12 billion because of its industry-friendly approach.

FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM have already applied to be MMSPs, or service providers when Ohio’s sports betting market launches on January 1, 2023.

“Most of the MMSPs we’re looking for are already present, with the notable exceptions of Caesars and Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers),” Eric Ramsey, lead market analyst for the PlayUSA Network told WCPO 9 News. “I’d expect to see both of those names on the final list, along with perhaps Tipico, Fubo, and betParx (which have all secured early partnerships with prospective Type A/B proprietors). As long as we have these 8 or 10 MMSPs ready to go, the launch will be hugely successful.”

Ramsey expressed surprise by the lack of applicants for Type B licenses, which allow up to 40 brick-and-mortar locations for sportsbooks statewide, including 10 sports facilities, seven racinos, and four casinos. So far, the only applicants in this category are the Hall of Fame Village in Stark County and two Cleveland-area locations owned by Jack Entertainment

The Cincinnati Reds told state legislators last summer that it wants a retail sportsbook at the Banks. FC Cincinnati said it is considering a sportsbook inside TQL Stadium or in a commercial development next to it. But neither team has applied for a proprietor license.

“This application process amounts to a public disclosure of intent that some of these prospective proprietors may not be ready to make just yet,” Ramsey said. “The Bengals, for example, had not really provided any public indication that they’re interested in participating in sports betting until they appeared on this list. So that was a surprise to me. It’s possible that some of the other teams and venues may want to wait longer before they make their intentions publicly known by seeking licensure.”

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