FanDuel and DraftKings Have Competition in Ohio Online Sports Betting Market

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jul 25, 2023 12:00 AM
A new heavyweight is building momentum in the Ohio online sports betting market.

FanDuel and DraftKings have so far dominated the Ohio online sports betting market since it went live earlier this year. To be honest, that's been the case in most locales. Many have, in turn, wondered if any other gambling operator can give them real competition.

The state of online sports betting in Ohio might now be giving us an answer.

More recently, the folks over at Bet365 have gained serious momentum in The Buckeye State. Will their ascent in popularity continue? Can they or anyone else ever put reasonable pressure on the relative monopoly enjoyed by FanDuel and DraftKings?

Let's find out.

Bet365 is Climbing Up the Ohio Online Sports Betting Ranks

Bet365, an online sports betting operator based out of the United Kingdom, has always focused their resources outside North America. But over the past year, they have made it clear that they also want to become one of the best online sportsbooks in the United States. For now, their expanded rollout remains in the earlier phases. Overall, though, they have been hyper-aggressive in their attempts to acquire sports betting licenses and appeal to customers in the USA.

Ohio is actually the first state in which Bet365 Sportsbook has been able to debut their services. And if the most recent earnings reports are any indication, they're off to a rip-roaring start. FanDuel and DraftKings were the only Ohio online sportsbooks to take in a larger share of the gambling handle over the past few months. James Gazzale of Legal Sports Report has the full details:

"The first major US push by Bet365 helped the sportsbook claim the third-most online market share in Ohio sports betting handle in May. The UK-based operator handled $32 million, or 7.5 percent of all bets, during the month. Over three months beginning in March, Bet365 trails only FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook in overall Ohio sports betting handle, although by a wide margin."

As Gazzale notes, the gap between Bet365 and both FanDuel and DraftKings remains massive—nine figures' worth of huge. But their ability to outstrip the rest of the competition is absolutely a big deal. Here's a look at the total Ohio sports betting handle from March through June for the top-five earners in the state:

  • FanDuel: $601.6 million
  • DraftKings: $526.7 million
  • Bet365: $123.4 million
  • BetMGM: $121.8 million
  • Caesars: $87.8 million

As you can see, Bet365 is closest to DraftKings yet still trails them by more than $400 million in business. But the United Kingdom-based operator is already edging out staples in the United States' online sports betting hierarchy like BetMGM and Caesars.

How Has Bet365 Expanded Their Reach Throughout Ohio in Such a Short Amount of Time

This rapid rise through the sports-handle rankings raises a simple yet essential question: How is Bet365 doing all of this both so quickly and effectively? The answer, as it turns out, is not especially complicated. They have been willing to spend. A lot. Perhaps more than anyone else.

Most of this spending has been allocated toward sports betting promotions. Bet365 has ramped up their advertising, as well, but Ohio is among the states that have started cracking down on how much can be funneled into marketing services. Offering bonuses is by far the best way to reel in—and then potentially keep—new clients.

Bet365 Sportsbook has taken that to heart. They are handing out deposit bonuses and betting promotions at a rate unmatched by anyone else. Relative to their month-over-month handle, in fact, Bet365 is technically spending a larger share of its money on bonuses than even DraftKings or FanDuel. As Gazzale noted:

"Bet365 continues to outspend most of its competitors with promotional dollars as a percentage of overall Ohio sports betting handle as it makes 2023 its year to appear in the US. In May, Bet365 doled out $3.7 million in bet credits, nearly 12 percent of its monthly handle. BetMGM spent similarly on promotions in May, handing out $3.2 million in bet credits, just shy of 11 percent of its overall monthly handle. FanDuel and DraftKings gave out $6.7 million and $6.5 million in promos, respectively, which accounted for less than 5 percent of their overall handle. Fanatics, which recently received approval for its $225 million offer to purchase the US assets of PointsBet, handled just over $1 million in May. It offered users nearly $470,000 in bet credits as it continues beta testing its online sports betting platform in Ohio."

In many ways, Bet365 has no other choice than to outspend on promotions. They are the new kid on the block, both inside Ohio and the United States at large. Even though legal online sports betting in Ohio only went live on January 1 of this year, many of the states's sportsbooks were there from the beginning. Bet365 was not.

Can Bet365 Rocket to the Top of the Online Ohio Sports Betting Market?

This question is getting a little too far ahead of the game. DraftKings and FanDuel have nothing to worry about in the immediate or long-term future. Even as Bet365 gains popularity in Ohio, they have yet to enter any other United States market. They will need to rack up years of wider-spread brand recognition and goodwill before party crashing the top of the gambling pecking order.

Still, Bet365 is a lucrative industry veteran. If they keep spending at their current level, we could continue to see their popularity soar.

Of course, whether they always plan to spend as much on expansion as they are now remains to be seen. The Ohio sports betting tax rate is on the rise and not as favorable when it comes to promotional credits. That could dissuade Bet365 from tripling-down on their vast amounts of bonuses.

Yet, even if they pull back on how much they are spending, it's clear that Bet365 is a force with which to be reckoned. DraftKings and FanDuel may not notice. But you better believe BetMGM, Caesars, Fanatics and others are already on high alert.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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