Ohio’s been waiting for January for a long time. After months of anticipation, sports betting is finally live in the Buckeye State and the money is already flowing in.
Some things went smoothly for bettors during the Ohio sports betting launch, others not so much. From trouble depositing to users not getting their early sign-up bonuses, there were plenty of hiccups on day one. But through the hurdles, thousands of Ohioans were able to enjoy placing their first bets in their home state.
At 12:04 a.m., I placed my first legal bet in Ohio: North Dakota State +4 (-110) against South Dakota State in the FCS National Championship Game at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ohio sports betting launch: What went right
Previous state launches gave plenty of insight for future states to follow. The good news for Ohio: All sports betting apps worked through the day — thank God, since Ohio launched hours before the NFL Sunday slate kicked off — which was a fear after technology issues have sometimes hampered state launches in the past.
The signup process leading into Jan. 1 was simple enough and there weren’t issues logging in for most users. As soon as the clock hit midnight (or about the time Noah Ruggles’ missed game-winning field goal hit the ground), users could log in and view odds.
Ohio’s market likely saw plenty of revenue as the Cleveland Browns kicked off against the Washington Commanders at 1 p.m.
DraftKings Ohio and FanDuel Ohio were both ready with Ohio-specific odds boosts as an added incentive for launch day. DraftKings offered +100 odds on the Browns to score a single point against the Commanders, FanDuel offered +100 odds on the Browns and Commanders to combine for at least one passing yard. All of the boosted props cashed, leaving users happy and giving them a taste of what it’s like to cash your first bet.
The Cincinnati Bengals are also going up against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football this week. That will likely lead to a fresh set of deals for day two betting in Ohio.
Ohio sports betting launch: Hiccups
Not everything went perfectly on launch day. My friends and I did not receive the signup bonuses for DraftKings Sportsbook or PointsBet Ohio at midnight; in the morning, they had received the free bets, but I did not. FanDuel was the only book whose bet credits appeared in users’ accounts at 12:01 a.m.
Trustly, a service used to securely transact between bank account and sportsbook, didn’t function through a good part of the morning and early afternoon. Without Trustly working, users were unable to deposit into FanDuel, PointsBet, or Bet365. By the time the 1 p.m. NFL slate had wrapped, Trustly was back up and working. However, this hiccup bled over from phone apps to the desktop.
The word I heard most from midnight Sunday through the day was “overwhelming.” With multiple sportsbooks launching simultaneously — all having their own signup bonuses and odds boosts — users didn’t have much time to parse through everything offered before the NFL kicked off. Add on the fact that most of the state was up late for the ball drop (as well as having our souls sucked out in the Ohio State game), and the morning became a scramble.
Luckily, having three or four of us looking at a different book helped. But there’s a good chance not everyone can take advantage of everything offered in the morning.
I’m not sure these qualify as “hiccups” or “what went wrongs,” but rather small annoyances that might just come down to being a personal problem.
DraftKings and FanDuel combine bankrolls of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and the sportsbook into one lump sum. For active DFS players like myself, this is bothersome since I can’t accurately gauge my betting bankroll, which I keep separately from my DFS one. This affects unit sizes as well.
Surely, I could do the math. But not being able to tell how my bankroll is doing at a glance is a mild annoyance.
PointsBet didn’t allow Ohio users to log into their accounts early. All the other books did, allowing the luxury of being familiar with the app interface, setting security settings and verifying identity. Sure enough, the apps opened up on time at midnight, but being unable to get into the account early caused some anxiety.
Generally a success, enjoyable experience ahead
Ohio’s huge launch day certainly could have gone a lot worse. When New York’s launch had multiple apps crash last year, that was a certified disaster.
However, there was a real scramble for users (and surely operators) Sunday morning to get everything up and running. For some of us that didn’t receive all of the bet credit promised, we have a few emails to send in the coming days.
Despite a few speed bumps along the way, launch day was generally a success for Ohio sports betting. Some technical difficulties were to be expected during the early hours of the new industry.
Ohio residents can finally bet on sports from the comfort of their homes. With the day-one hiccups out of the way now, bettors should be able to enjoy a mostly stable experience with the state’s sportsbooks for years to come.