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Weekend bonus thoughts: An update on NY sports betting promos
My “What the fudge is happening with NY sports betting promos?” post generated lots of questions and comments, and I’ve noticed a few new things and some interesting changes, so I wanted to do a quick update.
Before I begin, let me emphasize one thing: I love “taking advantage” of promo offers. So far, I’ve had no trouble with the companies or offers, and these are all reputable companies making massive long term investments into the NY betting market so I doubt there will be any issues. But I’m not a financial advisor nor a customer support specialist nor a professional gambler; so please please please read all the fine print for the offers and make sure you’re comfortable with the terms and conditions before you do anything / don’t send me emails asking for the specifics of the terms or how to deposit money or make a bet (yes, all of those have happened).
Anyway, a quick review of the bonus offers I’m currently seeing in the market:
Draftkings is doing a 20% deposit match on up to $1k (so you’d get $200 matched on a $1k deposit), plus a $100 free bet (I believe this link will also get you an extra $50 free plus some extra free bets)
Caesars is doing $300 in free bets after you make your first $20 bet, plus I believe they have some deposit matching (this is different than their former offer, which I’ll discuss later)
Those are great offers….. but there are already two big changes in the ~10 days since my first post.
MGM is a newcomer to the market; they launched a few days after everyone else and are giving terms that are similar to Fanduel / Sportsbooks (which are quite generous!). So if you’ve already taken advantage of the other offers I wanted to highlight that.
Caesars has dramatically changed their offers.
I wanted to dive a little further into point #2: Caesars offer has dramatically changed. Originally, they were doing ~$3.3k in “free money”; you’d get a $300 free bet for depositing money onto them and a $3k deposit match. That offer was way, way more generous than their competitors; I thought their competitors were lighting money on fire but I saw simply no way Caesars was profitably acquiring customers with that match.
Sure enough, Caesars new offer is dramatically less generous than their old one. I suspect that they realized that their initial offer was equivalent to lighting money on fire as arbs took advantage of their generous terms. Why do I say that? Well, I actually saved the fine print on their initial offer, and it was originally scheduled to run until January 31 (see below; if you’re interested more in the specifics of the original Caesars offer, this site still has some of the fine print up).
On Friday (Jan 21), they appear to have taken the old offer down and replaced it with the new, less generous (but still pretty nice) offer. I’ve got the fine print below.
My initial takeaway was that all of the sportsbooks’ deposit offers were too generous, but the Caesars offer was way, way too generous. The later point seems to have been confirmed; I suspect the gambling companies will realize the former point in time (though it won’t be anywhere near as costly as the Caesars offer).
I also wanted to highlight one other thing: if you’re putting money into these deposit matches, it pays to check your account every afternoon because these books can run some pretty profitable promotional bets. I tweeted some of these out, but a perfect example is Fanduel’s “Spread the Love” bet. The basics of that bet was for every 500 people who bet on the Knicks, Fanduel would add 1 point to the Knicks line (everyone got the same bet at the end, so you wouldn’t get screwed by being the first person to bet and getting the knicks +2 when the 1,000,000th person was getting the Knicks +50 or something).
That bet ended up with the Knicks getting a spread of +200 points against my beloved Pelicans. For those who aren’t familiar with how a line / spread works, a spread is how many point you will add to a team’s score to see if they win or lose for betting purposes. So, if the Knicks lost a game 100 - 98 and they were +3, for betting purposes they would have scored 98 + 3 = 101 and won the game 101 - 100. For the “spread the love” bet, the Knicks were getting more than 200 points added to their score. The average NBA team scores ~100 points in a game, and the biggest blow out in NBA history is a 73 point loss. There was literally no way to lose that bet; the only risk was if the game was cancelled for some reason so fan duel would have to refund the bet (fan duel declared the bet a winner sometime early in the first half of the game).
Again, please be careful; I don’t want to encourage people who’ve never gambled before to get a gambling habit or anything! But I just wanted to point out that the free deposit match and sign up bonuses can actually be more generous than they appear if you pay a little attention and take advantage of all the free promos and stuff that the books run. Every day the books will run something along the line of “make a same game parlay bet of $10 and get a free $10 bet win or lose”. Those things add up!
While I think the current deposit bonuses and matches are way to generous, I actually think these “giveaway bets” (Like the spread the love bet above or the free parlay bets I mentioned) are good business by the sportsbooks. The books limit those “free bets” to a small dollar total per each better (the spread the love was limited to $50), so I believe they serve as a good from of viral marketing / customer acquisition / customer engagement program. Similarly, the frequent “make a bet and get a free bet” promotions are a great way for the books to reward players for frequently opening their apps (which encourages engagement and I’m sure leads to more betting from a lot of the players).
Odds and ends
Nice analysis in Sportico building on the reason I wrote the first article (the initial promo offers were too generous and there’s almost no way they would prove profitable)