Prime Sportsbook became Ohio’s 20th online sportsbook when it debuted on Sept. 13.
Sports betting industry veterans Joe Brennan Jr. and Adam Bjorn spearheaded the operation. The Buckeye State is the first where the Prime Sportsbook platform is available.
The Prime Sports website says it is “coming soon” to New Jersey. It is reportedly also targeting an eventual Kentucky launch, where online sportsbooks will begin operating on Sept. 28.
Prime Sportsbook’s interface is relatively bare-bones. But it offers competitive odds and higher-than-usual betting limits as one of its key selling points.
During its first week of operations, we poked around to see how Prime Sportsbook compares other options in the Ohio online sports betting market.
Prime Sportsbook impressively transparent on maximum bets allowed
In interviews about Prime Sportsbook’s launch, Brennan said the new platform won’t take the same route as other Ohio sportsbooks.
Other companies had advertising campaigns and alluring new-user promotions. On the other hand, Prime hopes to become, as its bio on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter) says, “America’s sharpest sportsbook.”
On top of having high betting limits, Brennan says it will treat all customers the same. It will not enforce limits on users who are having success. Limiting “sharp” bettors is a practice used by many online U.S. sportsbooks.
“All our members are guaranteed the right to wager up to the maximum amount on every betting market, so you never have to settle for less,” the Prime Sports website declares.
That’s appealing to sharp bettors, who are often professional gamblers using sports betting as a money-making endeavor. As a result, these types of gamblers often turn to unregulated operators to fulfill their needs.
The high betting limits are something Prime Sportsbook users will immediately notice. Unlike its competitors, the sportsbook is remarkably transparent about the maximum amount a user can bet.
When you go to build any bet, the “max” wager (as well as the minimum) is immediately shown. For example, on Sept. 21, the max bet allowed for a moneyline bet on the San Francisco 49ers was $28,0000.
Notable: Prime does not yet have an Ohio sportsbook promo, but we’ll keep an eye out for one in the coming weeks.
Prime Sportsbook still ‘ironing out the kinks’
Speaking of transparency, the Prime Sports X account was open about some of the sportsbook’s opening week technical difficulties. According to a post on Sept. 15, users were unable to deposit through their Play+ accounts.
“Ironing out the kinks,” Bjorn posted on his personal account that day. “Construction of an ‘All Welcoming’ sportsbook underway.”
There is no Prime Sportsbook app yet. One is reportedly being developed, but all betting is currently done through the website.
I tried to place my first few bets on Prime through my phone. Thus, there were a few obstacles for me as I set up my account and placed my first bets.
Limited deposit/withdrawal options currently available
The only option to fund my Prime account was through Play+. So, I had to set up that account with that company as well.
For a new Play+ account, it takes 2-3 days before any withdrawals will go to your bank.
Brennan more recently posted that an ACH option to deposit/withdrawal via debit and credit cards would be available Sept. 21. He also stated that “bank wire” was available for deposits and withdrawals. But there isn’t any information available on the site for that option.
A week after the launch, I set up a Play+ account and transferred the money to my Prime Sportsbook wallet. But it didn’t show up immediately, so I contacted customer service via the “Live Chat” feature.
The AI chatbot was no help. However, I was transferred to a person and the issue was resolved within five minutes.
After placing my first bets, I withdrew the money in my wallet. The next day, while writing this article, I received a phone call from Prime Sports regarding my withdrawal.
The representative said they were “currently having a small issue” with payouts through Play+. Instead, they offered to send me the money through a bank transfer.
“We really wanted to adhere to our philosophy about quick payouts,” the rep said.
The representative followed up with an email that thoroughly walked me through the process of getting my funds. So Prime gets high marks for customer service responsiveness.
Sign-up, geolocation process could chase off casual bettors
The signup process for Prime Sportsbook was also a little more intricate than it is with some bigger sportsbooks.
The initial sign-up just required the basics, like address, contact info and social security number. Then, I was prompted to take photos of my government-issued ID and a utility bill to upload to the site. Each step took about 15 minutes before receiving approval.
Like every regulated U.S. online sportsbook, Prime must verify you are located in Ohio before accepting bets. Consequently, Prime asks users to download Xpoint Verify software for geolocation purposes.
You must have the Xpoint app open each time you use Prime Sportsbook. Once the app was installed on my mobile device, it worked immediately, but the desktop version had more difficulty maintaining a connection.
Not that they are huge obstacles, but having to use multiple third-party sources to place a bet was a bit annoying. It would seem to certainly chase off some more casual sports bettors who could find, sign up for and place a first bet much faster with another sportsbook.
LEARN ABOUT OTHER OHIO SPORTSBOOKS:
Prime Sportsbook currently doesn’t have an app
The mobile interface of the Prime Sportsbook website is clunky and not intuitive or user-friendly.
Using the site on my iPhone’s Safari browser, I constantly had to maneuver around the large “Live Chat” tab that goes up the right side of the site on every page.
There is also an obstructive blue bar across the top of the site that shows you your IP address and when you last logged into the site.
On mobile, the bar blocks the “back” button while going through the different markets. This requires you to flip the phone horizontally before returning to the previous page.
The site also logged me out at seemingly random times due to alleged “inactivity,” even though I was in the middle of perusing lines a few times when this happened.
Again, these are minor technical annoyances, but it certainly hurt the user experience, especially when you’re betting from your phone.
The desktop version of Prime Sportsbook is much more functional. I’d recommend starting there to better understand what the sportsbook offers.
Prime offers highly competitive odds
The Prime Sportsbook website interface is pretty minimal. It’s basically just the basics and lacks any bells and whistles.
Prime currently offers betting on football (NBA, NCAA and Aussie Rules), basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, MMA, Formula 1 racing, boxing and a wide array of international soccer leagues.
But there aren’t any player prop bets. Nor does Prime appear to offer the popular play-by-play live betting many other sportsbooks have begun to offer. Users can make straight bets, as well as parlays and teasers.
But Prime’s markets are somewhat limited compared to other sportsbooks, including its futures market. But even its futures bets can be spotty.
For example, you can bet on who will win the NFC East and NFC West. But there are no options to wager on who will win the AFC divisional titles. On the AFC side, only the conference title bets are available.
For NFL games, a user can only bet the moneyline, spreads and over/unders, including on just the first halves of games. There are a few more markets available for MLB games, including bets on team totals, team to score first, first inning scores and more.
But overall, there aren’t as many options as some bigger operations.
On the plus side, Prime Sportsbook often offers more bettor-friendly odds than its competitors. For example, Prime’s current odds on the Bengals winning the AFC conference are +985, while DraftKings has odds set at +800.
Prime will be interesting to watch in the coming months
It’s clear that Prime Sportsbook is still finding its footing, but it seems well on its way to achieving its goal of being the preferred Ohio sportsbook for sharp bettors. Users who don’t want to be limited and want to wager high amounts and have the ability to re-bet will love Prime. It fills a niche in the Ohio market.
Attracting more recreational users might be a challenge for Prime, though. Even without the technical issues, there just doesn’t seem to be much to draw in casual sports bettors.
With 20 sportsbooks now, those casual Ohio bettors will more likely go for sportsbooks that at least have better interfaces and offer decent promotions.
It will be interesting to see in the coming months, as revenue numbers come in for Ohio and Prime expands into other markets, if Prime Sportsbook’s sharp focus is a long-term sustainable business model in the regulated sportsbook world.