In Its First Year, Ohio Becomes Sixth Largest Sports Betting Market

Written By Steve Schult on February 2, 2024
A picture of a wooden chip moving up stairs for a story about Ohio becoming the sixth-largest market in just its first year of operations.

In its first year with sports betting, Ohio gamblers showed up in droves.

According to reports from the Ohio Casino Control Commission, bettors wagered $829.9 million with online and retail sportsbooks in December. Operators netted $87.3 million worth of revenue from those bets.

After launching in January 2023, December’s numbers put a wrap on the first year of Ohio sports betting. In total, sports bettors in the Buckeye State wagered more than $7.6 billion on sports.

As a result, online and retail operators reported gross revenue totals of $936.9 million. Additionally, it resulted in $133.1 million in tax revenue, nearly all of which is used to fund Ohio public education.

Ohio market uses first year to cement itself as a success

By total betting handle, Ohio was the sixth-largest sports betting market in the country. It was behind New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

However, most markets experience increased sports betting during the state’s second year. The customer base becomes more educated about betting and aware of what’s available. Therefore, an increase is expected in 2024 and cracking the top five spots wouldn’t be surprising.

But Ohio was just barely behind Nevada and Pennsylvania to finish sixth. Since an increase is expected, Ohio can vault itself to the fourth-largest market by the end of 2024.

Online betting key to Buckeye State numbers

The 2023 sports betting handle was comprised almost entirely of online sports betting, with 97% of wagers placed through online sportsbooks.

Statewide handle was $7.66 billion. But $7.59 billion of that was wagered online.

This isn’t a new trend. Online operators dominate the markets with both retail and online betting. Furthermore, the handful of states with retail betting as the only option don’t generate anywhere near the revenue that states with both do.

For example, Montana is one of the few states operating as a retail-only market. Montana launched sports betting in March 2020. In its entire sports betting history, sportsbooks generated a handle of $18.8 million.

In December alone, seven Ohio online sportsbooks handled more wagers than that.

Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Mississippi, Wisconsin and North Carolina are the state that only offer brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. North Carolina is on the brink of launching an online betting market.

Revenue by online sportsbook

SportsbookDecember 2023 Handle December 2023 Revenue
FanDuel $289,006,976$37,425,690
DraftKings $261,316,703$25,432,351
ESPN BET $72,862,647$8,238,497
Bet365$47,314,496 $4,549,324
BetMGM $46,395,644$3,599,562
Caesars Sporstbook$37,091,570$1,748,568
Hard Rock Sportsbook$7,504,935$392,131
Fanatics Sportsbook $19,098,816$1,564,146
BetRivers $5,148,045$203,991
Superbook $614,823-$624
Prime Sportsbook$4,457,367$140,277
Bally's Sportsbook$1,535,411-$149,64

ESPN BET keeps foothold in market

In November, Penn Entertainment’s rebrand from Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN BET was first available in Ohio.

In its first month of operations, ESPN BET Ohio ranked third in handle, behind only the market leaders FanDuel Ohio and DraftKings Ohio.

Penn’s new online sports betting operation handled $70.8 million in November, solidifying itself as a second-tier operator. By comparison, Barstool Sportsbook handled $19.8 million in wagers in October.

The incredibly high promotional spending made some skeptical that ESPN BET could keep its market share. But in December, ESPN BET accepted $72.8 million in wagers.

At least by the early results, the legacy of the ESPN brand influences industries the company isn’t directly associated with.

Photo by PlayOhio
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Steve Schult

The managing editor for PlayOhio and several other Catena Media sites, Steve stays on top of all things related to the national gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker’s most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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