Ohio’s First Month of Legal Sports Betting Yields Billion-Dollar Handle

The numbers back up what had long been suspected about the Ohio market, which is that it would be a material one for operators.

Feb 28, 2023 • 16:44 ET • 2 min read
Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Figures for the first month of legal sports betting in the Buckeye State are out — and they are significant.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission reported Tuesday that the state's retail and online sports betting sites handled approximately $1.1 billion in wagers during January, when event wagering legally began. 

Most of the wagering done in Ohio last month was via the internet, as total gross receipts through the state's 16 online operators during January was $1.090 billion. Retail wagering at the state’s 14 brick-and-mortar betting sites accounted for about $23 million in handle, according to the casino control commission.

The first tax bill

The billion-dollar month for Ohio sportsbooks translated into $208.9 million in taxable revenue for the state, which came after about $883.7 million in winnings was paid to bettors and another $20.7 million in wagers was voided. That worked out to a whopping hold (or win rate) of about 18.8% for retail and online operators. 

Moreover, mobile sportsbook operators also handed out almost $320 million in free bets and other promotional credits, which bookmakers cannot use to lower their taxable revenue at this time in Ohio. They will be able to start doing so in 2027, when 10% of promotional credits wagered can begin being deducted from gross revenue.

The tax owing to the state as a result of January’s wagering was around $20.9 million, given Ohio’s 10% levy on sports-betting revenue. The bulk of the sports betting-related tax money is supposed to go toward funding education.

Legal sports betting in Ohio began just after midnight on January 1, with lottery, online, and retail wagering sites permitted to accept action the same day. The Ohio Lottery has also reported that a bit more than $850,000 in bets was placed during January at kiosks and terminals around the state.

The leading mobile sportsbook operator by handle last month in Ohio was FanDuel, with $494.2 million in wagering and $103.2 million in revenue. Placing second was DraftKings, which took almost $344 million in mobile bets and turned it into $55.1 million in revenue. Third place went to BetMGM, which accepted $82.1 million in action and generated $21.7 million in revenue.

Overall, though, the numbers back up what had long been suspected about the Ohio market, which is that it would be a material one for operators. The sizable population of bettors and bookmakers was always expected to generate a considerable amount of handle, and already the Buckeye State has joined the upper echelon of legal wagering states.

In New York, for instance, a state with around eight million more people than Ohio, the first month of online sports betting saw almost $1.7 billion wagered by residents. Ohio is also generating the same type of activity as mature gaming states such as Illinois, New Jersey, and Nevada, which have also registered billion-dollar months of handle. 

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