In the run-up to Ohio’s launch of legal sports betting on New Year’s Day, industry experts anticipated a frenzy of early wagering activity in the Buckeye State.
A snapshot of sportsbook app downloads on Sunday indicates that Ohio may have exceeded expectations. According to JMP Securities, there were 166,907 mobile sportsbook app downloads across the nation on Jan. 1, representing the second-most downloads of any day during the NFL season.
That figure ranked second only to the opening Sunday of the season in September, JMP analyst Jordan Bender wrote in a research note. The figure also fell just short of the opening day total in New York on Jan. 8, 2022, when the nation’s sports betting pacesetter launched legal wagering.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) January 3, 2023
Ohio is the first state to launch online sports betting since Maryland went live in November. Prior to that, Kansas launched in September, becoming the 32nd state to go live with some form of legal sports wagering.
“We are seeing the recent state launches showing encouraging signs for the sports betting industry given the high rates of adoption, handle/adult, and promotional intensity from operators dropping off in the months following the launch,” Bender wrote in his note.
NFL Week 17 highlights
Over a seven-day period through Jan. 2, U.S. app downloads totaled around 671,000 from the sportsbook operators that represent about 90% of the nation’s online sports betting market share, according to Bender.
Year-over-year, that figure represented a spike of approximately 201% from app downloads in Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season. The seven-day figure was also good for a 64% increase from the previous week after receiving a bump from new bettors in Ohio.
Ohio is officially the 24th state to legalize mobile sports betting ✅
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 1, 2023
The three U.S. market leaders, FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, maintained a collective download market share of about 81% in Week 17, up about 5% from the same week a year ago. FanDuel, the nation’s definitive leader, had a 33% download market share in Week 17, up by 1% from Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season. DraftKings came in second with a market share of 27%, followed by BetMGM at 21%.
There was a significant drop-off from those three leaders, as fourth-place Barstool Sportsbook maintained a 7% share of the U.S. download market in Week 17. Barstool finished just ahead of Caesars Sportsbook, which ranked fifth with a market share of 6%. JMP Securities, which cited app download trends from digital intelligence firm Sensor Tower, did not have a state-specific breakdown of app downloads in Ohio in its first two days of wagering.
Strong start for Betr
Sports betting newcomer Betr had about 2,500 app downloads on Jan. 1, commanding a market share of 1.5%. Betr, a direct-to-consumer micro-betting company, gained market access in Ohio through a partnership with The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Betr is co-founded by celebrity boxer Jake Paul and former Simplebet executive Joey Levy.
RT @joeyslevy: Incredible effort by the @betr team to launch our first real money betting product in Ohio yesterday on the state’s universal start date. We have big plans for the state, which we will be announcing soon.https://t.co/7dfBZnAcEW
— Issa banks (@Schmuutzde) January 2, 2023
Betr offers a variety of micro-wagers, such as the result of a team’s next offensive drive in football. Bender plans to keep a close eye on Betr, along with other niche operators such as Sporttrade and Underdog.
“Our view remains these products will not be share takers, but could be interesting tuck-in opportunities to complement product offerings for the mid-to-large size operators,” Bender wrote in his note.
Ohio is the most populous state to launch online sports betting since New York last January. As of July 1, Ohio had about 11.5 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates. According to JMP Securities’ data, Ohio is home to approximately 3.6% of the nation’s population, the fourth-highest among states with legal sports betting.
Photo: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY