ESPN Bet Shakes Up Ohio Sports Betting Share With Heavy Promos


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Ohio sports betting

Several major Ohio sports betting players saw market share drop in November as ESPN Bet debuted behind generous promotional spending from parent company PENN Entertainment.

The latest state report released Tuesday shows $29 million in bet credits from Penn that nearly equaled the promotional budgets of the 19 other Ohio sports betting apps combined.

The free bets drover handle over $70.8 million, third-most in the online market and good for an 8.5% November share. Penn’s largest handle share while running Barstool Sportsbook was 5.3% in March 2023.

How did Ohio sports betting spend compare?

Penn’s giveaways outpaced $12 million in revenue for the month. The promotional spending in Ohio for the ESPN Bet launch was noticeably more than in other states where that data is available:

The online Maryland sports betting market is only a handful of weeks older than Ohio. Michigan and Pennsylvania are more mature markets. Promos were similar across the markets, as Penn told LSR this week there were no state-specific launch promotions.

Breaking down big November numbers

Penn split November operating the Barstool Sportsbook before its rebranded app launched as ESPN Bet on Nov. 14.

The $70.8 million in online handle was a personal best for Penn in Ohio, though promotions equaled 41% of handle.

Penn also featured a market-leading 17% hold online, well above the 9.2% average online across the industry in 2023.

Handle shakeup in Ohio

Bettors staked $275.4 million through the DraftKings app in November. DraftKings earned 33% of all online betting with the total.

Online handle share for DraftKings is down from 36% in October and 39% in September. DraftKings recently told analysts that ESPN Bet entering the market had no impact on its customers.

In November, DraftKings rolled out a $10.5 million promotional budget. The offering made up 47% of its $22.5 million market-leading revenue total.

FanDuel sees OH sports betting dip

FanDuel saw a minor dip in November handle share, too. The $292.6 million in volume made up 35% of the OH sports betting mobile market, down from 36% the month before.

A promotional offering near $9 million made up 43% of FanDuel’s $21 million monthly revenue.

Handle share down for others, too

BetMGM, bet365, and Caesars Sportsbook also experienced slight drops in November online handle share as ESPN Bet entered the market.

SportsbookNovember online handle shareOctober online handle shareNovember online handle
BetMGM5.9%6.2%$49.7 million
bet3655.2%6%$43.3 million
Caesars4.6%4.9%$38.3 million

Bet365 continued to pass out promos in November. Its $3.4 million bet credit budget made up 91% of its $3.7 million in monthly winnings.

Caesars stayed true to its strategy of reducing customer acquisition costs and only offered $510,000 in free bets. It was one of the lowest totals among the most popular Ohio sports betting apps.

Ohio sports betting numbers in November

Bettors sent $859.9 million through OH sportsbooks, online and in-person, in November.

Monthly handle eclipsed $800 million for the first time since the market launched in January 2023 with $1.09 billion in bets boosted by $319.5 million in promos.

Operators cleared $68.2 million in taxable revenue for the month and sent a $13.6 million sports betting tax payment back to Ohio.