European Giant Bet365 Looking To Nail Its Ohio Sports Betting Launch

Written By Jake Garza on August 24, 2022
Ohio Could Be A Huge Launch For Bet365's US expansion

Bet365 might finally be ready to make a splash in the U.S. sports betting industry. The gambling company is a heavy hitter in Europe but hasn’t been able to make an impact in the American market yet.

Bet365 is getting in on the Ohio sports betting action, which could be just the boost the brand been looking for. Nailing its Midwest debut could be the start of the next phase for the company’s U.S. expansion.

Bet365 transitioning to the U.S. market

Through a partnership with the Cleveland Guardians, Bet365 Sportsbook will be available for Ohio bettors on Jan. 1, 2023. That’s the universal start date for legal sports betting in the Buckeye State.

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It might not have the name recognition here of some of its competitors, but make no mistake, the company isn’t new to world of gambling.

The brand is a huge player in Europe. That rings especially true when it comes to British gamblers, since the company is based in the United Kingdom.

Bet365 has dipped its toes into the American waters, but it hasn’t been willing to dive in head first yet. The sportsbook is up and running in New Jersey and also holds an unused license in Colorado. The brand long serviced the grey market in Ontario and is believed to be a leader in the early days of the regulated market there.

So far, the company hasn’t been looking to aggressively expand like many of its other foreign gambling counterparts. Other foreign brands like PointsBet, William Hill and Unibet have been rushing to open for business in various U.S. markets.

Assuming that Bet365 launches in Colorado soon, Ohio could eventually become the company’s third state for wagering.

A strong showing in Ohio will be important for the company, but that process could be an uphill battle for British billionaire Denise Coates and her company.

Competing with popular U.S. betting apps

Launching in Ohio is one thing, but competing with the other top dogs in the state is something else entirely.

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of the biggest sports betting companies in the U.S. Names like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel are practically inescapable due to their huge presence around the country.

A few big fish account for the vast majority of market share in the U.S. industry. Even some companies in the “newbie” category with Bet365 in Ohio are more known to Americans. Fanatics is a well-known apparel brand with years of name recognition for sports fans, while Betr is fronted by Jake Paul, an Ohioan with vast and valuable digital reach.

Brand recognition is usually a huge part of the sports betting game for new companies. Bet365 Ohio doesn’t have to look far to learn that lesson. It’s something that is already been playing out in Ohio’s neighbors.

Sportsbooks skip the line with brand recognition

Indiana’s market holds a great example for the impact that brand recognition can have for a sportsbook.

In July 2021, William Hill accounted for a mere 3% of the state’s bets. The company rebranded to Caesars Sportsbook just a month later. That change had an immediate impact on its market share in Indiana.

Fast forward to today, and Caesars is one of the most popular apps out of the state’s dozen options. These days it typically accounts for about 10% of wagers in any given month. That’s good for tens of millions of dollars worth of bets.

The difference maker? Brand recognition.

Hoosiers weren’t familiar with a European company like William Hill, but as soon as the sportsbook rebranded to well-known Caesars, the money started flowing. Of course, spending ad dollars and pushing JB Smoove and the Manning family on television during NFL Sundays had a lot to do with that, but that’s another open question for Bet365.

BetMGM found similar success in Michigan. The company was late to the sports betting party in the state, but MGM’s brand recognition helped immediately carry the sportsbook to the top spots on the podium.

BetMGM is still a dominant player in Michigan’s sports betting industry and is routinely the best-performing brand when it comes to online casino.

Brand recognition is a luxury that Bet365 Ohio wont have when it launches in Ohio. The sportsbook has a partnership with the Cleveland Guardians, but that’s its only real connection to the Buckeye State.

That could make customer acquisition in Ohio a tough process for the company.

Bet365 ready for Ohio sports betting competition

Bet365 might not have the same level of brand recognition as its competitors, but the company has a trick up its sleeve for gaining market share in Ohio.

The big players like DraftKings and FanDuel have spent hordes of money on marketing across the U.S. Capturing the interests of every gambler in every state has come at a cost.

The marketing price tag has some companies looking to cut back on their ad spending. After all, if everyone already knows what DraftKings is, then that limits the benefit of new commercials.

While other companies have scattered their resources across the country, Bet365 has been playing things close to the vest.

Since the sportsbook is only up and running in New Jersey right now, it hasn’t had to burn cash to gain customers across the entire U.S. That could leave more resources available for a bigger push in Ohio.

Marketing spending could go a long way toward bridging the brand recognition gap between Bet365 and its competitors. With fewer ads from its competitors flooding the airwaves, Bet365 might be able to make the most of the situation to pitch its own brand to Ohio gamblers.

Promotions and deals from Bet365 Ohio

Marketing is a great way for sportsbooks to gain brand recognition, but it isn’t the only route Bet365 can take in Ohio.

Bet365 has made a name for itself with its consistent new promotions for customers.

In new sports betting markets like Ohio, bettors are often looking for the best deal possible. With tons of new betting apps at their fingertips, it can be difficult for bettors to pick out the differences between each company.

Shiny new offers are a great way to stand out from the pack.

Whether that comes as a big sign-up offer to get people started, or a special promo for the latest sporting event, Bet365 will have a lot of options to pick from.

Finding a sports betting niche

Carving out its own chunk of the Buckeye State’s market could be a huge opportunity for Bet365.

There will be a ton of competition to capture Ohio’s football bettors, and rightfully so. Football is the most popular sport for betting in the U.S.

Bet365 will be going after those football wagers, but the company also has a chance to dominate other important sports in Ohio.

As a European company, Bet365 certainly knows its way around the minds of soccer bettors. That could be an advantage for the company as it looks to snag the attention of fans.

Given that Ohio has two MLS teams within its borders, there are plenty of soccer fans to entice in the state.

Bet365’s partnership with the Guardians could also help make the brand synonymous with baseball in Ohio.

Sportsbooks don’t have to be the most popular option in every market in order to run a successful business. Siphoning off bets from the more popular sports while dominating smaller categories like soccer could go a long way toward establishing Bet365 in Ohio.

The company might have its work cut out for it in the Buckeye State, but Ohio’s market could end up being the perfect opportunity for Bet365 to make a splash in the U.S. industry.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Staff Writer for PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois, PlayMichigan and PlayIndiana. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of all things Ohio gambling related.

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