Ohio Sportsbooks Drastically Reduced Promotional Spending In February

Written By Mike Breen on April 12, 2023
Ohio sportsbooks reduce promotional spending

The promotional spending of online sportsbooks in Ohio dropped dramatically in February.

In the second month of legal sports betting in Ohio, online sportsbooks’ bonus offer spending decreased 81.5% according to monthly revenue data released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission on March 31.

Online sportsbooks collectively spent $59.1 million on promotions in February, down from nearly $320 million in January. However, promotions for new users are still available.

Heavyweights FanDuel and DraftKings drove bonus spending drop

Market leaders FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook fueled the drastic decrease in promotional spending in Ohio in February.

FanDuel, the leading online sportsbook in the state, has also been the leader in promotional spending.

In January, FanDuel spent $168.6 million on promotions. According to the February numbers, FanDuel’s promotional spending was $19.7 million, an 88% decrease from the previous month.

DraftKings, which ranks just behind FanDuel in handle and revenue in the Buckeye State, saw a similarly huge drop in promotional spending from January to February.

DraftKings’ promotional spending in January was $86.6 million. In February, DraftKings spent $18.3 million on promotions in Ohio, a 79% drop from the month prior.

Most Ohio sportsbooks decreased promo spending in February

Almost every other online sportsbook in Ohio spent less on promotional offers in February — albeit to varying degrees.

Outside of FanDuel and DraftKings, other sportsbooks that saw large decreases in promo offer spending in February include Barstool Sportsbook (with an 85% decrease), Hard Rock Sportsbook (79% decrease), Pointsbet Sportsbook (75% decrease) and Caesars Sportsbook (70% decrease).

Sportsbooks with more modest promotional spending decreases in February include BetMGM Sportsbook (22% decrease), Betway Sportsbook (13% decrease) and BetRivers Sportsbook (8% decrease).

Two Ohio sportsbooks that were still finding their footing actually increased their promotional spending in February.

MVGBet Sportsbook, which saw its handle increase from $203,000 in January to $724,000 in February, increased its promo spending by 68% in that time span.

In February, BETR, a platform focused more on live “microbetting,” increased its promotional spending 68%. BETR, which had a slow rollout in January and just introduced more traditional pre-game betting markets in March, saw its revenue drop 42% from January to February.

BetPARX Sportsbook became the state’s 17th approved online sportsbook in Ohio when it launched in mid-February. BetPARX spent around $18,000 on promotions in its first (half) month of operation in the state.

Promo spending drop-off is in line with other markets

In the lead up to Ohio’s sports betting launch on Jan. 1, online sportsbooks extended a slew of generous pre-launch offers. Similarly enticing welcome bonuses continued into January, as the sportsbooks competed for new customers in the state.

Gaming industry research firm EKG says the drop-off in promo spending from January to February is comparable to what sportsbooks have done in other states when they’ve legalized sports betting.

EKG points to a similar drop-off in promotional spending in Maryland, which began allowing sports betting through mobile apps in November of 2022.

In a recent edition of EKG’s newsletter, the firm said sportsbook promo spending dropped about 70% in Maryland from the first to the second month of mobile sports betting in the state.

EKG said the even bigger drop-off in promotional spending in Ohio suggests “operators have fine-tuned a launch playbook that includes an initial blitz followed by a more dramatic curtailment.”

Ohio’s 3.5% promotions-to-handle ratio in February, according to EKG, is now more akin to the markets in Pennsylvania (whose online sports betting market launched in 2019) and Michigan, where bettors have been able to legally wager using sports betting apps since early 2021.

Welcome offers in Ohio are still plentiful

Early on — both pre-launch and just after launch — online sportsbooks flooded the zone, heavily advertising alluring signup bonuses to get a foothold in the new Ohio market. New FanDuel users, for example, could claim $200 in bonus bets after placing their first bet of at least $5.

Some sportsbooks also offered hard-to-resist “no-brainer” bets in January, giving huge odds boost to easy bets like whether a football team would score one point during an entire game.

While those somewhat over-the-top “no-brainer” promotions seem to have dried up, new users can still find plenty of sportsbooks offering nice signup bonuses, as well as other consistent promotional offers.

New customer promo offers currently available:

  • Bet365 Sportsbook is giving new users $200 in bonus bets after they bet at least $1.
  • New customers at Tipico Sportsbook receive $200 in bet credits when they deposit $50.
  • New FanDuel Sportsbook users receive $150 in bonus bets after placing their first bet of $5 or more.
  • If new Caesars Sportsbook users lose their first cash bet, they’ll receive a bonus bet equal to that first bet’s loss (up to $1,500).
  • BetFred Sportsbook’s welcome offer gives new users $111 in bonus bets (which they call “Fred Bets”) upon settlement of their first bet of $50 or more. New BetFred users can also get 50% of their combined total losses back (up to $1,000).
Photo by Shutterstock.com
Mike Breen Avatar
Written by
Mike Breen

Mike Breen covers Ohio’s budding sports betting industry for PlayOhio, focusing on online sportsbooks and the state’s responsible gambling initiatives. He has over two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture in Ohio.

View all posts by Mike Breen