Browns sign deal for sports betting lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium

The Cleveland Browns have become the latest NFL American football franchise to announce they will add a sports betting experience to their stadium through a long-term deal with Bally’s Interactive.

The contract features various fan-focused elements and establishes the division of Bally’s Corporation as an official sports betting partner of the team. Pending appropriate licensing and regulatory approvals, the collaboration will be highlighted by a branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium, the launch of the mobile Bally Bet Sportsbook app in Ohio and free-to-play gaming opportunities for fans in the state.

The Browns and Bally’s are currently identifying the location and “specific fan accommodations” for the Bally-themed lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium, details for which will be finalised in the coming months. In accordance with all applicable regulations, the Browns said fans ages 21 and up will have the ability to “enjoy an exciting collective sports-betting experience” within the new space on gamedays, while watching on-field action from across the league.

As the team’s designated sports betting operator, pending appropriate licensing and regulatory approvals, Bally’s will launch a mobile sports betting app for fans to place wagers on sporting events anywhere in the stadium and throughout Ohio.

The state is set to offer online and mobile sports betting before January 1, 2023, after Governor Mike DeWine set a deadline to launch an official sports betting market.

Elsewhere in Ohio, Caesars Entertainment in February entered into a multi-year partnership with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, with the deal to include the opening of a retail sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Cavaliers also signed an expanded deal with Fubo Gaming which will feature the opening of a 3,000 sq. ft. sports lounge inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Dave Jenkins, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of the Browns’ parent company, Haslam Sports Group, said: “In addition to their incredible resources and expertise, Bally’s Interactive has the fan-first mindset that is consistent with our focus and pivotal to creating successful, fully-integrated sports betting experiences, and we look forward to supporting Bally’s efforts to provide these innovative opportunities to Browns fans and all sports fans in Ohio in the near future.

“As we continue to work closely with sports betting regulators in our state to ensure a responsible and timely launch, we are excited and confident that our partnership with Bally’s will ultimately offer industry-leading benefits to fans throughout Cleveland and Ohio.”

Adi Dhandhania, chief operating officer of North America for Bally’s Interactive, added: “We are excited to partner with such a historic pro football franchise to secure sports betting market access in Ohio, and bring to its fan base more ways to engage through our online gaming platforms.

“The Browns’ stadium and gameday atmosphere provide a great opportunity for us to showcase our Bally Bet Sportsbook app and Bally Play products in Ohio.”

In January, Arizona Cardinals and BetMGM revealed a first look at their plans for the first retail sportsbook at an NFL stadium. The sports betting and iGaming operator, and the franchise, released initial images of the nearly 17,000-square-foot BetMGM Sportsbook scheduled to open on the State Farm Stadium campus in time for kick-off of the 2022 NFL season.

The news came after it was announced in August that State Farm Stadium would be fitted with a retail sportsbook as part of a wide-ranging partnership between the Cardinals, BetMGM and Gila River Hotels & Casinos.

The Buffalo Bills also agreed a multi-year partnership with Caesars Sportsbook, with a new premium club lounge to open at Highmark Stadium as part of the deal.

Image: Cards84664/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size