When sports betting in Ohio launched on Jan. 1, online sportsbooks offered an avalanche of tempting promotions to users in the state in an effort to attract new signups.
With the recent release of Ohio’s sports betting revenue numbers for January, we now also know just how much money online sportsbooks spent on promotional expenses like bonus bets and deposit matches in Ohio’s first 31 days of legalized sports betting.
All together, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s January revenue report, the 16 online sportsbooks operating in Ohio spent $319 million on promotions.
Ohio sportsbook promo spends exceed revenue numbers
That’s far more than the combined revenue Ohio sportsbooks generated in January. The OCCC reported overall revenue of $205 million for January, with a total handle of $1.1 billion.
January is likely to be an anomaly in terms of the high amount online sportsbooks spent on promotional offers.
Many of the sports betting companies put forward hard-to-resist deals to lure new customers and try to gain a foothold in the market.
But, though new user offers will continue, the big “new state” offers and “no brainer” bets have dissipated and the companies that gave away more than they took in will likely reign in their first-month promo budgets somewhat.
FanDuel, DraftKings spend most on promotions
The U.S. online sportsbook market-leaders, FanDuel and DraftKings, had the most revenue in Ohio in January.
FanDuel took in $103 million, accounting for just over 50% of all online sportsbook revenue for the month. DraftKings online sportsbook had $55 million in revenue in January in Ohio, accounting for 26% of online sportsbook revenue in the state.
The sports betting heavyweights also spent the most on promotions.
FanDuel spent the most by far, with $168 million going to promotions in Ohio’s first month of sports betting.
DraftKings, meanwhile, spent $86 million on promotions in January.
Here’s how much each Ohio online sportsbook spent on promotions in January:
|Ohio Online Sportsbook||Promotions||Handle||Revenue
New user offers, “no brainer” bets offered early on in Ohio
FanDuel and DraftKings dominated the market with a flood of advertising touting their alluring signup bonuses.
New users to FanDuel received $200 in bonus bets after placing their first bet of at least $5. DraftKings offered a 20% deposit bonus for new users.
FanDuel and DraftKings also offered a few “no-brainer” bets in January to attract Ohio users. For example, DraftKings offered a +100 odds boost that the Cleveland Browns would score more than 0.5 points against the Washington Commanders on New Year’s Day (aka the first day of legal sports betting in Ohio), with a max bet of $50. Similar easy-money deals were offered for the Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio State basketball games.
Bet365 Sportsbook, which made a good showing in Ohio’s first sportsbook numbers report (accounting for 3.5% of the market share), was also highly competitive in enticing new users with promo offers. New bet365 users got $200 in bonus bets with their first bet of $1 or more.
Bet365 spent nearly $16 million on promotions in January, the fourth-most of all Ohio online sportsbooks, while reporting $8.4 million in revenue.
Only Caesars, Betr revenue higher than promo spending
Just two Ohio sportsbook operators posted higher revenue numbers than the amount they gave away in promotions in January.
Caesars Sportsbook, which notably cut back on its marketing budget in 2022 in an effort to bring the company closer to profitability, had a $413,000 difference between revenue and promotional spending.
Betr, the upstart microbetting app co-founded by native Ohio social media star/boxer Jake Paul, posted revenue $11k higher than their promotional expenses.