CLEVELAND — After years of sorting out how it will all work, sports betting is about to become legal in the state of Ohio.
It all goes live beginning on News Year's Day, and whether it's on your phone, a passing billboard or while watching TV, the ads for Ohio’s new world of legalized sports betting are everywhere.
Companies are dishing out dollars on dollars to get you to sign up even before sports betting can go live.
At DraftKings, that means $200 in free bets plus five fans will each receive a $100,000 bonus bet.
“If you're lucky enough to get that wager, that could be a game changer for you in sports wagering,” DraftKings race and sports operations director Johnny Avello said.
It's all a part of a marketing blitz to bring in fans before the new year, said Matt Schoch at PlayOhio, an online gambling information site.
“Those sign-up bonuses will be around, but not to the same extent,” he explained. “They're going to be tempered down a little bit.”
Early projections from PlayOhio show Ohio could quickly become one of the most popular states when it comes to sports betting with an estimated $8 billion dollars in sports bets placed in the first year.
“When you add together the kiosks, the retail sports books and the online apps, it's a gigantic number,” Schoch explained. “We're talking about maybe more like $9-12 billion in a mature market as years go on past 2023.”
A marketplace that’s always been there is now finally going mainstream.
“I want fans to know that you can now play with a legitimate establishment instead of playing with a bookmaker where you're not sure if you're going to get your money,” Avello said. “It'll be there with us at DraftKings. You're going to have so many different options that you've never had before.”
How does a spread and moneyline work?
“With a spread, you're dealing with not only which team is going to win the game, but if you are betting the favorite, you're going to give up a certain amount of points so that to keep it even, even if the underdog loses but only loses by less than that spread number, then you lose that bet. If you took the favorite,” Schoch said.
Moneyline, Schoch added, allows fans to win more money than their original bet if they bet on the underdog, and vice versa if they pick the favorite.
What about Over/Under?
This one is simple and has become one of the most popular options for fans.
A bet is placed on how many total points between two teams are scored in a game. That number is set by oddsmakers in order to get both sides of the bet as equal as possible.
“So if you want a high-scoring football game, high-scoring basketball game, you bet the over,” Schoch said. “Of course, the opposite is true for the under.”
Individual Prop Bets
With the growth of fantasy sports, this has become an option growing in popularity.
Fans can bet on specific athletes and what they will accomplish during a game (i.e how many touchdowns DeShaun Watson throws, how many rebounds does Donovan Mitchell have, etc).
How does a parlay work?
A parlay involves multiple bets lumped together, meaning a fan can make even more money if a series of wagered events occur.
“Operators are really pushing parlays right now because it's a high margin bet for the operators, it's a low margin bet for the player,” Schoch said. “You can kind of combine that spread bet, that prop bet and maybe that over/under bet and the three into one with the chance to win big money but of course a bigger chance of losing.“
What can’t you wager on?
Also remember, to start, sports betting will be limited to the actions of the athletes on the field of play, so prop bets like the coin toss, how long the national anthem goes or the color of Gatorade poured on a winning coach are not allowed—at least initially.
The sports books at the JACK Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino are already open to customers even though they’re not yet taking bets; they’re trying to whet the appetite of future sports betting customers. So too are the roughly 20 online sports betting sites that are already flooding the airwaves and internet offering customers free bets if they sign up with them before Jan. 1.
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