Late last week, the Ohio sports betting financial report for June was released. That now gives us six full months of market data to review, and that data reveals quite a bit about the state of the state.
Some things — like the market dominance of FanDuel and DraftKings — are as surprising as the sun rising in the east. However, with 18 online operators licensed in Ohio, the rest are battling for a fraction of the market. And the data shows that many operators, on paper, appear to be struggling.
One sports betting market expert cautioned about reading too much into the early data.
“The Ohio market is less than a year old, and the U.S. OSB market more generally is undergoing a period of more pronounced change, so I think it’s far too early to make calls regarding Ohio winners and losers,” said Chris Krafcik, the managing director for sports betting and emerging verticals at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, in an email to BetOhio.com.
Here’s a look at the total handle, revenue and revenue-minus-promotional spending for each of the 18 online Ohio sports betting apps through the first six months.
Ohio Sports Betting Data After 6 Months
Buckeye Blowout for FanDuel, DraftKings
While it may be early, some trends still can be identified after the first half of 2023. For starters, a universal start date did not help level the playing field. That’s especially true online.
In January, 16 operators launched in the Buckeye State, with two more joining in subsequent months. However, FanDuel Ohio and DraftKings are the clear top two in the state, and no one else is even remotely close.
FanDuel has taken 39% of the online wagers through the first six months and claimed 46.5% of the revenue. DraftKings has 32.4% and 28.2%. That means that, combined, the remaining 16 operators have a 28.6% share of the online handle and 25.4% of the win.
Within the group of 16, there are four operators – BetMGM, Bet365, Barstool Sportsbook Ohio and Caesars Sportsbook — each with a handle share of at least 4.5%. Two others, Hard Rock Bet and Tipico, each have taken more than 1% of the online wagers.
The remaining 10 — Betway, Betfred, Fanatics, SuperBook, Betr, BetRivers, PointsBet, BetJACK, MVG Bet and Parx — each have less than 1% of the handle. The same group also has less than 1% of the total revenue apiece.
Newcomer Fanatics Poised to Emerge
If anyone appears to break out of that bottom group, it’s Fanatics. The online retailer’s sportsbook did not launch in the state until April, and ever since then, Fanatics has seen its handle double each month while the overall handles have plummeted due to the reduced betting options available in the late spring and summer months.
Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio, which is also in the process of acquiring PointsBet’s U.S. operations, also has used a soft opening with retail customers gaining access to the sports betting app through invitations.
Krafcik said Ohio’s “landscape could shift further” as Fanatics progresses toward full-scale operations.
Bet365 Aggressive in Ohio
Even among the middle-tier of sportsbooks, there are some interesting findings.
The first six months in Ohio have shown that Bet365 can compete with BetMGM, Caesars and Barstool. The European book has 5.9% of the handle and 7% of the revenue.
But that has come at a cost. Bet365 has spent $53.8 million in promotional credits. Only FanDuel and DraftKings have issued more, and with revenues of $37.2 million, it means Bet365 is down $16.6 million.
On the other hand, Caesars has reported earnings of just $14.4 million, just 2.7% of the total revenue. However, the Las Vegas-based book has offered only $6.8 million in promotional credits.
The behavior has been similar at Barstool, where it has won $14.3 million but only offered $7.8 million in Ohio sports betting promos. However, that could change soon, according to Krafcik.
“It’s not hard to imagine the Ohio OSB competitive landscape shifting somewhat this fall,” Krafcik told BetOhio.com. “Bet365 has been and will likely remain full speed in Ohio, for example, while Barstool has promised to increase marketing spend to support its newly relaunched product.”
Many Operators Still Seeing Red
In all, Ohio’s sportsbooks have reported revenue of $527.9 million over the first six months, but they also have given their customers $485.7 million in promotional credits.
Nearly two-thirds of the promotional spend, $319.9 million, occurred in January.
Although FanDuel, at $214.7 million, and DraftKings, at $128.8 million, have spent the most by far, they are two of just seven operators that have spent less on promos than they’ve generated in revenue.
Eight of the 11 that have spent more on promos than earned in revenue are among the sportsbooks with less than a 1% market share in Ohio. Still, as Krafcik noted, that might not necessarily cause concern for some within that group.
“For local Ohio operators like BetJACK, meanwhile, top-line market share is not the stick by which they’re measuring themselves,” he said. “In my view, those operators are in the earliest stages of determining how best to utilize OSB as an extension of their core casino brands and retail offerings.”
In the mid-pack, BetMGM has posted the strongest revenue totals of the tier, with $44.3 million, but it’s also spent more than $45 million on promos.
What’s Next in Ohio?
With football season on the verge of kicking off, the remaining months of 2023 should give us a good idea of how big the Ohio market can get. As the home to the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes, the state is one of the biggest hotbeds for football at both the NFL and college levels.
So, now we see what is emerging in the Cleveland sports betting market, the Cincinnati market and other parts of the state.
As Krafcik noted, Barstool is expected to increase its promotional spending, but how many others will look to do the same in the months ahead?
We’ll also see what impact the 20% revenue tax will have on operators and their plans in the state. That tax, double the original rate lawmakers passed in December 2021, might impact some operators’ plans in the state in the coming months.
And there still could be more operators joining the game. The Ohio Casino Control Commission website shows four operators — Underdog, Out The Gate, Bally Bet and WynnBET — and their in-state partners have conditional approval for online licenses.
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