With sports betting in Ohio set to go live at the start of 2023, more attention is being paid to the prospective rollout than ever. Chief among the curiosities: What will Ohio sports betting bonuses look like in honor of legal gambling's debut?
There are, of course, other Questions being asked in endless droves. How many brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will there be? Which sports teams in Ohio applied for betting licenses? Which of the best sportsbooks for online betting will be licensed inside the state? How many small businesses throughout the state have acquired the liquor license necessary to also accept bets on sports? So on and so forth.
But the first question is being posed with increasing interest these days. Ohio is a little over one month away from rolling out legal sports betting at this writing. Consumers naturally want to know what promotions they'll be eligible to capitalize on in the coming weeks.
You might think this is always the case. And technically, you're not wrong. But this round of Ohio sports betting bonuses will be more important than any other that'll ever be offered.
Think about it: Ohioans are getting to make sports betting accounts for the first time. While relationships with sportsbooks don't have to be exclusive or permanent, there will never be another stretch when so many bettors are signing up and servicing accounts all at once. The sheer volume anticipated in advance of opening week is why states with online betting take so long to prepare for the rollout. They need to ensure that mobile betting sites and mobile betting apps won't crash under the weight of so much digital traffic.
And with this amount of business comes great competition. Sure, sportsbooks operated by different companies are always competing with one another. But they are never competing for this much first-time business in such a short amount of time. Historically, this has been great news for sports bettors in the United States. They have been treated to generational promotions in the lead-up to their state's debut of legal gambling. Apparently, however, that's not happening with Ohio sports betting bonuses now. Which begs the question: Why?
Ohio Sports Betting Bonuses are Repressed by Previous Promotions in Other States
It turns out that Ohio has seen their sports betting promotions take a dive in the wake of previous bonus structures. At present, residents are being offered sign-up and deposit bonuses that top out somewhere between $300 and $400, according to ABC 9 News in Cincinnati. This pales in comparison to the promotions in other states that routinely spilled into the thousands of dollars.
So what gives? Here's what David Paschkes, the chief commercial officer for Tipico, an online sportsbook that partnered with the Columbus Crew to secure a license in Ohio, had to say on the matter while speaking with ABC 9:
“What’s plagued this industry is the bonus hopping, people going from one bonus to another and not really giving your service a chance. We’ve always been really smart about how we go about not only finding the right customers that are going to be profitable over time and use this as an entertainment experience, but it’s very important that you focus on spending your money in a smart way.”
As ABC 9 also noted, bigger sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings have made it a point to invest plenty of capital in promotions over the past half-decade. At one point, FanDuel said 29 percent of all its spending went to propping up large promotions. But this ability to draw-in first-time signees has reportedly cost A-list sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings hundreds of millions of dollars. Some people have simply signed up to collect the bonus and then left for another sportsbook after they burned through their promotion or satisfied the rollover requirement. That kind of cycle can be a drain on company resources.
Granted, this creates a unique problem. Sportsbooks want to figure out how they can keep players long term. But by aggressively capping first-time bonuses, they may wind up driving people to continue wagering at off-shore betting sites.
Sports Betting Bonuses in Ohio Should Increase
Everything we've just discussed makes for an awkward tug-of-war. That's probably not going to change until sports betting actually goes live in Ohio. Companies need to generate and have time to understand data on customer patterns before adjusting course. That's how they ended up diminishing Ohio sports betting bonuses in the first place.
Still, experts throughout the industry expect the sports betting bonuses in the Buckeye State to grow over time, according to ABC 9. Many are bracing for them to climb above $500 in value as we get closer to the rollout date.
More importantly, a swathe of experts believe bonus opportunities will actually increase long after the rollout. This makes sense. Fewer people will theoretically be in the market for a sports betting home, because they'll already have found one. You will always get a fair share of website hoppers, but the number of clients actually switching sites or creating first-time accounts dramatically decreases after the introductory period.
Theoretically, this should allow legal Ohio sportsbooks to be more aggressive with their sales pitches, because they won't be making as many of them. Does this mean you should wait to bet on sports in Ohio? That's up to you. But the current cap on Ohio sports betting bonuses is worth monitoring moving forward either way.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one meets all of your sports betting needs: