Ohio sees $1.1 billion in sports bets during first month of activity, second only to New York

Ohioans wagered more than $1.1 billion on sports betting in January, the first month the activity was legal in the state, according to data released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission on Tuesday. The bets resulted in $208.9 million in revenue for sportsbooks across the Buckeye State. And overall, Ohioans scored more than $883.6 million in winnings. 

Most of the wagers were placed online, officials said, with 16 operators accounting for $205 million in revenue. As for Ohio’s 14 retail sportsbooks, these reported $3.2 million in revenue, while the state’s four casinos showed $86 million in gaming revenues for January. The state taxes sports betting at 10%, which means it collected close to $21 million from January’s haul.

“This far exceeded probably the expectations of most people,” Wade Howk, chief financial officer for Hard Rock Cincinnati, said as reported by WLWTY5. “As a transplant to this area, I didn’t realize exactly how much sports meant to this state.”

Ceremonial first bet at Hard Rock Cincinnati

Of the more than $1 billion bet on sports in January, about half of the wagers were made by people in Greater Cincinnati. While the Bengals’ playoff run played a role, Howk credits college basketball with boosting Hard Rock’s revenue, which totaled more than $790,000.

Legal sports betting’s strong start in Ohio is a direct reflection of residents moving away from predatory offshore sites and bookies for the protections of regulated sportsbooks,” Casey Clark, senior vice president at the American Gaming Association, told The Columbus Dispatch

Because of the state’s regulatory framework, legal operators can offer a competitive product that appeals to consumers and has already brought in more than $20 million in taxes and $39.4 million in licensing fees to the state,” he noted.

Ohio’s first month of sports gambling is likely to grow the industry as a whole substantially. The state’s handle ranked second nationally among states that have recorded January revenue, trailing only New York. The $1.1 billion in bets was more than the handle in established markets including Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

There were signs in early January that Ohio’s sports betting industry had hit the ground running. During launch weekend, the state saw more geolocated transactions than any other state in the U.S., including New York. By the end of the month, over 2 million sports betting accounts had been created in Ohio, according to GeoComply.

Looking ahead to February, Ohio should be in a good position taking into account Super Bowl LVII, the biggest betting event of the year for the US. While state budget officials estimated a $3.35 billion sports betting market, bringing in $24 million in taxes by mid-2024, PlayOhio projected an even larger number: $8 billion in bets in 2023.