With just over six weeks to go before Ohio sports betting kicks off, several of the state’s online sports betting operators have already started taking new customers.
Five sportsbooks — DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, and bet365 – are offering generous pre-launch offers, giving new customers free bet credits and other promotions for signing up during the pre-launch period (anytime before Jan. 1, 2023).
PlayOhio has examined the offers and determined that DraftKings gives Buckeye bettors the most bang for their buck.
First of all, what is a “free bet” credit?
All five operators offer “free bets” as part of their Ohio pre-launch promotions, and some new bettors may not be familiar with the term. In fact, some experienced bettors may not be familiar, either.
In the case of Ohio, a free bet comes in the form of site credit offered to all customers who sign up for an account during the pre-launch period. After signing up, the amount of the free bet is available to use the same as cash.
There are often restrictions on the types of bets that can be placed using free bet credits, but those are few. If the free bet hits, the bettor pockets the winnings from the bet — but not the free bet money used as the stake. So if you make a $10 free bet at even odds and win, you’ll pocket the winning $10 but not the initial $10 stake.
Like DraftKings, each of FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, and bet365 offer various pre-launch promotions. The rules and cash-out terms for free bets will be similar, but users will want to understand them ahead of time.
New Ohio customers want choices, and DraftKings delivers
For many Ohioans, Jan. 1 will be the first time they look at a betting line. While all new bettors should take time familiarizing themselves with different bets and new terminology, the best operators will be the ones to give them the power of choice. That may steepen the learning curve, but the payoff is worth it.
As the largest online sportsbook in the country, DraftKings offers the most markets (types of bets) in both national and international sports. It also outperforms all of its Daily Fantasy Sports competitors in terms of number of ways to score per sport. By giving fantasy players more types of scoring chances, it allows players to build fantasy teams more strategically.
This emphasis on variety gives the app longevity with more options to play as seasons and sports change.
FanDuel deserves honorable mention here for its selection of same-game parlays. The platform makes selecting parlay options from drop-down menus very accommodating.
However, DraftKings’ overall breadth of markets wins the day.
On top of all that, DraftKings is stable. Its app works across platforms, and it doesn’t crash. Reliability is crucial in online sports betting, and DraftKings is rock solid reliable.
DraftKings is the leader in live-betting markets
Live betting is a relatively new option that lets bettors make wagers on in-game outcomes – like next made free throw or next tackle. These bets are made possible by data analysis services that can set in-the-moment odds for different outcomes that could happen in a game.
DraftKings’ live betting collaboration with sports-technology company Simplebet is top notch. DraftKings and Simplebet signed their multi-year deal last year, and the two have been offering the best live betting options ever since.
The crucial component in live betting is the quality of the lines set by data analysis services. If these minute lines are off a hair, operators and bettors can lose a lot of money.
Simplebet has proven reliable in the sports betting sphere, and DraftKings customers can feel confident that they’re getting the best, and most, in-game lines on these exciting new markets.
DraftKings Ohio will give you more money
This is the real kicker. Even if we suppose that FanDuel and DraftKings have equally solid products, the fact that DraftKings is doubling FanDuel’s free bet credit sets it apart.
DraftKings’ free bet credit of $200 is broken into eight $25 free bet “tokens” that expire seven days after they are deposited in the player’s account.
The fact that the tokens are broken into eighths is good for new players who want to try a variety of markets without much risk. With so many free bets, a player can make some safe bets and a few riskier ones. Or they can drop all eight tokens on a single bet. Again, with DraftKings players have plenty of options to get to know the app and find some new markets to explore.
The only markets these tokens cannot be used for are:
- Live bets
- Odds boosts
- Cash-out bets
It’s worth noting that DraftKings will also award one new customer a $100,000 free bet. If that lucky person is you, you’ll find out when you open the DraftKings app on New Year’s Day.
NBA fans might want to consider FanDuel or Caesars
While the money difference will draw more people to DraftKings, the FanDuel and Caesars promos may appeal to NBA fans.
FanDuel is offering three months of free NBA League Pass on top of their $100 in free bets.
If you live for the NBA and don’t have NBA League Pass, FanDuel’s offer will get you three free months of service starting the day you sign up for the promo. It’s unclear whether this promo turns into a paid automatic renewal after the promo period is up. Bettors will want to check the terms and conditions upon entry.
Also trying to hook NBA fans, Caesars has 45 pairs of Cleveland Cavaliers tickets up for grabs. Caesars announced the first five winners on Nov. 5 and will continue drawing five more winners every week until launch. Caesars sets the value of each ticket at $40, so the seats are probably mid-range.
This promo isn’t going to do much for bettors outside of the Cleveland area, but if that’s you, Caesars might be worth taking a flier on.
Don’t be picky; try them all
Though we firmly believe Ohioans will get the most out of their promo offer by choosing DraftKings, there’s no reason not to take advantage of all five pre-launch offers. Between all five operators, new users will have $700 of bet credit and some decent NBA perks at their disposal.