Promotions Flow As Ohio Sports Betting Operators Fight For Customers

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Ohio sports betting

The first full month of football betting at Ohio sportsbooks saw plenty of promotions handed out as sports betting operators old and new fight to protect or grow their slice of the customer pie.

Promotions as a percentage of revenue hit 66.1%, with $52.5 million in free money given out during September, the official start of the NFL betting season.

Seven of the state’s 20 online Ohio sportsbooks drew at least $20 million in handle, including two operators in growth mode: bet365 and Fanatics.

Total handle was $668 million with $79.4 million on 11.9% hold. That led to $15.9 million in taxes to the state.

Who had most Ohio sports betting promos?

DraftKings took the top spot in terms of Ohio sports betting promotion dollars handed out for the third straight month with $17 million. But looking at promotions as a percentage of an operator’s revenue creates a more apples-to-apples comparison.

That metric was highest for Fanatics, which handed out $5.9 million in promotions, or 152.5% of its $3.9 million in revenue. Next was bet365 at 138.8%, giving out $8.2 million in promos compared to $5.9 million in revenue.

Compare that to the $17 million for DraftKings, which was 59.8% of revenue.

OperatorsHandleRevenuePromotionsPromo as %Rev
Hard Rock Bet$9,855,046$1,043,358$681,66165.3%
Bally Bet$654,213$53,612$9,05516.9%
Prime Sports$366,001$12,057

Elevated sports betting promo environment

Promotions are not tracked in every state, but a handful of states with Sept. 2022 comparisons show promotions as a higher percentage of revenue this year than last.

That is significant not just because promotions are growing, but percentage of revenue is growing too, despite some operators reporting stronger holds through operational and margin improvements.

Pennsylvania reported promotions that were 45% of the reported revenue, up from 33% last year. Connecticut saw that metric climb to 33% this year from 27% last year, while Wyoming reported promotions at 63% of revenue compared to 38% last year.

Maryland, which like Ohio is also in its first September with mobile sports betting, saw promotions as a percentage of revenue hit 53%.

Will promos jump higher with ESPN Bet?

This elevated promotional environment could be just the beginning when ESPN Bet launches at some point in November.

Earnings calls from publicly traded operators over the next two weeks should give some insight into how sportsbooks plan to deal with an entrant with brand power like ESPN Bet.

Penn Entertainment seems to be trying to keep some Barstool Sportsbook customers around, giving out more than $520,000 in promos while reporting $1.1 million in monthly revenue.

Penn CEO Jay Snowden called the November launch a positive because customers may be done with promotional offers from the beginning of the season already, giving them more reason to check out a new operator.

No Ohio sports betting highs

September did not lead to any new highs in terms of handle, revenue, or promotions, but that is not a complete surprise.

While it is the beginning of the critical NFL and college football seasons, the state launched Jan. 1 with two Sundays of regular season NFL games left before the playoffs started.

That led to an intense promotional environment with $319.5 million dished out during the month, mostly funded by DraftKings and FanDuel. That led to $1.09 billion in handle and $206.1 million in revenue.