Aug 10, 2023 - News

Ohioans bet big in first 6 months of sports wagering

Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

Ohio sports betting has declined as an early flood of promotions has given way to a quieter summer without most major sports in action.

Why it matters: The first six months have proven we're a sports betting heavyweight, analysis from industry tracker Covers and state data shows.

  • More money has been wagered here so far in 2023 than in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia.

Flashback: Ohio faced a massive undertaking to launch online, retail and lottery kiosk betting at the same time on Jan. 1, says Danny Cross, managing editor of PlayOhio, a website that reports on and advocates for sports betting.

  • There were early bumps in the road as operators were fined for illegally promoting "free bets" and marketing to underage players.

State of play: Since then, "things have gone quite well," Cross tells Axios.

  • Ohioans wagered over $3.8 billion in the first six months of legal betting, earning sports books $539 million in revenue.
  • 10% of that was taxed to benefit K-12 education and problem gambling resources, though lawmakers voted to double that tax rate in the recent state budget.

What he's saying: "Sports books have to be happy with the [betting totals] so far," Cross says.

The intrigue: Bettors vastly prefer placing bets online, with 97% of all money wagered via 18 digital apps.

Zoom in: Fourteen brick-and-mortar sports books inside stadiums and casinos are working to attract gamblers with glitzy lounges and restaurants.

  • Hollywood Casino Columbus unveiled its new Barstool Sportsbook in February and has fielded nearly $18 million in bets to date.

Meanwhile, lottery kiosk betting is so nonexistent that Ohio is actually losing money on this front.

  • Ohioans have bet just $6.5 million at nearly 1,000 participating bars, restaurants and bowling alleys ā€” netting the state just $141,000 in revenue.
  • But these kiosks cost the state lottery commission $650,000 a year in administrative costs, WBNS-TV reports.

What we're watching: How these betting totals look once pro and college football seasons kick off next month.

  • We anticipate the first OSU/Michigan game with legal betting is going to blow the gambling receipts off the charts.
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