Who will be the Cavaliers’ Ohio betting partner with Fubo off the scene?


Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) and forward Isaac Okoro (35) celebrate during the second quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

USA TODAY sports

The regular season started last month for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there’s one season where the NBA team is likely to miss the start: the online sports betting season.

When FuboTV decided on Oct. 17 that it would shut down its Fubo sportsbook nationwide, it negated its online sportsbook partnership with the Cavs, which was to begin when sportsbook went live Jan. 1 and sportsbook apps launched in Ohio . The team looked for options.

Fubo Gaming and the Cavs announced an online sports betting partnership on February 9th this year. It was an optimistic relationship that was expected to provide a strong revenue stream for both companies.

Caesars has a retail relationship with Cavs

The Cavs already have a brick-and-mortar retail sportsbook partnership with Caesars Sportsbook, including a 3,000-square-foot “sports lounge” currently under construction within Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Caesars already has an online sportsbook partnership, but with Scioto Downs, which is over 150 miles away in Columbus, Ohio.

Other Cleveland area online sports betting partnerships that have been approved include Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians with bet365 and the Cleveland Browns with Bally’s Interactive.

Fubo had high hopes for a deal with Cavs

The Cavaliers were the first NBA team to work with fledgling company Fubo Gaming, but both sides had high expectations for the future. This is why it was so shocking, just over eight months later, that FuboTV shut down Fubo Gaming and also shut down its online operations in Iowa and Arizona.

Now, four weeks later, the Cavaliers are still looking for an online sportsbook partner, just six weeks after Ohio debuted mobile/online sportsbook on January 1st.

Little has been said or reported about the Cavs’ prospects, but not everything is necessarily bleak and ominous. There is a possibility that Ballclub could possibly end up in a better situation than Fubo would have.

Could the Ohio Casino Control Commission help or hinder?

While the timing isn’t ideal — and it’s obviously much later than some of the partnerships other Cleveland and Ohio-based teams have — it’s definitely within the realm of possibility that losing Fubo could turn into another operator’s gain.

However, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC), which oversees the introduction of online sports betting in the state, has so much work to do that it’s unlikely they’ll make an exception to please the Cavs. In other words, the Cavs’ problem with Fubo isn’t the Commission’s problem.

A commission spokesman recently said it was “highly unlikely” that the Cavs could launch online betting on Jan. 1:

“The Cavs will be able to select a new MMSP (Mobile Management Service Provider) but it is highly unlikely they will be able to launch on January 1st as licensing and compliance requirements are lengthy and the Commission is currently considering applications processed.”

Responsible Gaming

Always gamble responsibly. All licensed and legal operators in the United States make resources available to bettors, including guides to identifying gambling problems, links to support services, and self-exclusion tools for a set period of time. There is support at National Problem Gambling Council, 1-800 GAMBLER and American Addiction Centers. Make sure you only bet at gambling sites that are licensed and regulated by the gambling regulator in your state. This ensures that the games are fair, bets are honored, customers’ funds are safe and there is legal protection for the consumer.

Profile picture by Jerry Bonkowski/Gambling.com

Veteran sports writer Jerry Bonkowski has worked as an editor for a number of the largest publications/online sites, including 15 years at USA Today, four years each at ESPN.com and Yahoo Sports, and almost eight years at NBCSports.com. While his greatest achievements in recent years have been motorsports such as NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA, he has also made a name for himself in other sports, including coverage of all six Chicago Bulls championships, Tiger Woods’ PGA debut and the running of the Chicago Bears 1985 to the Super Bowl and more. Follow him on Twitter @JerryBonkowski