Year in Review: Sports Betting in Ohio in 2023

Ohio’s full year of betting has brought success and scandals

Ethan Matthew - News Editor at Covers.com
Ethan Matthew • News Editor
Dec 26, 2023 • 07:00 ET • 4 min read
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Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Ohio launched sports betting on New Years Day 2023, and after a full year, it's easy to see why so many sportsbooks flocked to the Buckeye State. 

Before Ohio started accepting wagers, 16 sportsbooks acquired licenses to operate. Not only was that a larger number than in several other betting states, but it also continued to grow and now there are 20 operators to choose from.  

It didn’t take long for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to take advantage of the large pool of operators that are active in the state. In February, he proposed doubling Ohio’s 10% tax rate on sportsbook revenue. Its success will certainly be looked at by other sports betting states that have a competitive marketplace.

See also: Sports Betting in North Carolina in 2023

Handle and revenue 

Ohio came onto the sports betting scene with an impressive $1.1 billion handle in their first month of operation. That translated into $209 million in taxable revenue and $20.9 million in taxes. 

Only recently has Ohio’s handle come close to January’s haul. November saw $746.3 million in wagers (second highest after January), but revenue only reached $80 million. But despite the high bar January created, Ohio was a top-five state in sports betting.  

FanDuel and DraftKings unsurprisingly controlled Ohio’s sports betting market, each consistently seeing nine-figure handles. FanDuel led in the early months, while DraftKings was top dog from July till October. 

See also: 10 Predictions, Bold and Otherwise, About Sports Betting in 2024

Scandals 

Ohio’s popularity also brought some headaches to the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC), specifically in April and May. The operator PlayUp was alleged to have accepted illegal wagers and agreed to a settlement with the state to not seek a license for four years. 

In May, the OCCC pulled all lines on University of Alabama baseball after suspicious activity in one of their sportsbooks. Soon after, Alabama coach Brad Bohannon was terminated.  

The University of Cincinnati’s baseball team was also under the eye of the OCCC after an alleged conversation with parents and the team’s assistant coach and director of operations (both of whom were terminated).  

And as other sports betting states start to clamp down on fantasy contest games (that look similar to sports betting), the OCCC too has been working to keep those industries in line with their regulations, sending several cease-and-desist letters. 

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