Get ready, Ohioans. Legal sports betting is now a matter of hours away — something we’ve waited quite awhile for. But are you ready for that launch? What does being ready even mean? Below, I’ll go over some helpful tips to optimize your experience during the Ohio sports betting launch.
Some things I’ll touch on include how to best take advantage of the litany of promo offers, how to optimize your exposure at different sportsbooks, and a few important pointers.
Step 1: Sign-up bonuses and referral bonuses
Before you get totally set up and deposited, take this helpful tip: In order to seriously maximize your bonuses, find a group of three, four, or five Ohio friends who all want to open accounts.
Each book will offer a referral bonus, with FanDuel maximizing theirs at $100. When you refer a friend, you both get more bet credits. So assign a book to each friend to pass their referral code onto the next and so forth. Everyone gets and gives a referral code and everyone gets $50, $100, or more extra.
Ohio sports betting launch roadmap: promos I used
The amount of promos shoved in our faces from the full-scale assault of commercials can be overwhelming. So which ones should you really be keen to? These are the sportsbook bonuses and promos I used to prepare for the early days of Ohio sports betting.
Before I dive in, “bankroll” refers to my total amount of dollars put into sports betting across all books. It’s important to have accounts at multiple books, not only to take advantage of the many promos and bonuses, but also to shop lines. Not every book offers the same odds.
DraftKings Sportsbook: 20% deposit bonus, $200 in bet credits
Full transparency: I put more of my bankroll into DraftKings Sportsbook Ohio than the other books. Their 20% deposit bonus is the best incentive any book is offering right now, and you’re rewarded with more bet credits the more you deposit. More deposit bonuses are on the way, likely to be announced on Jan. 1 itself, but any time you see a “X% Deposit Bonus/Match,” it just makes sense to take full advantage.
Plus, like other books, DK is offering another $200 in bet credits, awarded in eight $25 bets (no deposit required!). Don’t panic if you don’t see all $200 in bet credits in your account Jan. 1 at midnight — it’s a slow release to your account, likely over four weeks or so.
BetMGM: $200 in bet credits, no deposit required
Why does the “no deposit required” matter? It allows you to defer funding the account and possibly even build a small bankroll with the $200 bet credits. These, too, are given in four installments of $50 bet tokens, given one per week. Any time you can nab a promotion without depositing, do so. So, I don’t plan to deposit anything until I see a deposit bonus. You’ll need to use each one within seven days of being awarded or they expire.
However, keep an eye out for BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio to release a deposit bonus promotion to keep pace with competitors.
Caesars Sportsbook: Deposit $20 early, get $100 bet credits
This one’s important: Deposit $20 into your Caesars Sportsbook Ohio account prior to launch (by Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m.) to get $100 in bet credits. Other books don’t require this early deposit and some flat out refuse to let you do so until launch day, but not Caesars. Get $20 in there early.
The reason I’m comfortable depositing just $20 here instead of waiting for the possible deposit bonus (which only works on first deposits, thus nullifying your eligibility for it) is that the best I believe Caesars will offer is a 20% deposit match. In order to exceed their $100 bet credit promo, you’d need to deposit more than $500. If you plan to deposit more than $500 per book, then I’d absolutely wait.
Caesars’ verbiage makes it sound like this $100 will be instant and can be used in any sport of amount at a time (opposed to other books who will give you static bet tokens worth a certain amount). You’ll need to use the credit within seven days of being awarded or it expires.
FanDuel Sportsbook: $100 in bet credits, NBA League Pass for three months
Similar to the other books, FanDuel Sportsbook Ohio is offering $100 in bet credits for early signups. Their twist: offering three months of NBA League Pass, which should get you to right at the heat of the NBA playoff race. (Note: LeaguePass sadly won’t get you access to Cavs games, just out of market ones.) The other nice incentive FD offers is that the bet credit is good for 30 days after “the first live bet has been placed,” a.k.a. launch day. Unlike other books, it has nothing to do with when you sign up.
FD doesn’t vocalize any need to deposit, so hold off on depositing early before we see a deposit bonus.
Bet365: $100 in bet credits
Short and sweet: Sign up early with Bet365 Sportsbook Ohio and get $100 in bet credits, good for 90 days. No deposit required.
I’m also not depositing here until I see a deposit bonus incentive, because I don’t have to in order to take advantage of their signup offer.
PointsBet: $200 in bet credits, up to $500 in bet insurance
OK, this one’s a little involved. Off the bat, you get four $50 bet tokens for signing up early, given one per week for four weeks. PointsBet Sportsbook Ohio is one of the books that doesn’t let you sign in before launch; their system is more like signing up for an email list.
Their bet insurance promo, which they call “PointsBet Second Chance,” will offer a refund in the form of bet credits if any of your first bets for five days lose. In this case, “first bet” means your first chronologically placed bet per day and will be covered up to $100. If your first-placed bet wins, you can’t get any bet credit for the rest of the day. They’re only covering you once a day for the first five days, so if you don’t place a bet that plays out on Wednesday, you lose the opportunity for that bet credit.
Don’t bet just to use the promo. Only place wagers you’re confident on. So, NBA or college basketball bettors will get a lot more out of this promo than college football or MLB bettors. Full transparency: I don’t expect to get much out of this one.
You have five days to use the Second Chance promo. If your first-placed bet Monday loses, you get the Second Chance to use Tuesday through Saturday.
Ohio sports betting launch roadmap: promos summary
That was a lot of information and tracking. In total between those six sportsbooks, there’s $900 in bet credit to be had just for signing up early (and depositing $20 into your Caesars Sportsbook account early). Pile that on top of DraftKings’ 20% deposit bonus and whatever other bonuses come our way and your savvy friend referral chain.
There is — without exaggeration — over a thousand dollars in bets and bonuses up for grabs per bettor if you play it right.
And my grand deposit total before Jan. 1 was $20.
Remember, be patient with depositing. I know it’s going to be tantalizing to get your account up and running and place that midnight bet, but you’ll be missing out on potentially hundreds of dollars in bonuses if you do.