Sports Betting Kiosks Costing Ohio Lottery Nearly $30,000 Per Month

Written By C.J. Pierre on October 19, 2023
A picture of evaporating money for a story about the Ohio Lottery losing money with sports betting kiosks.

Sports betting in Ohio generates millions of dollars in taxable revenue for the Buckeye State.

Legal sports betting launched at the start of 2023. Since then, Ohio collected $69.5 million in taxes from online and retail sports betting revenue, according to reports from the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

That’s a sign that sports betting has been successful so far in the state. However, that number doesn’t paint the entire picture and Ohio sports betting kiosks are getting lost in the shuffle.

The Ohio sports betting market has both retail and online sportsbooks which are regulated by the OCCC. The state also has a kiosk program run by the Ohio Lottery.

There are self-service sports betting machines at more than 900 locations statewide. However, the juice may not be worth the squeeze. These kiosks are costing the state money.

Ohio sports betting kiosks costing more than they are worth

Ohio sports betting kiosks can be found in restaurants, bars and other public spaces like convenience and grocery stores. They represent an accessible and convenient option for betting on sports in Ohio. However, despite September being the second-best month for these machines in the state, that isn’t being reflected on the Ohio Lottery’s bottom line.

According to numbers released by the Ohio Lottery, Ohio bettors wagered $1,282,062 through sports betting kiosks in September. Operators generated $104,594 in Gross Gaming Revenue from the handle.

However, those numbers only turned into $22,196 in tax revenue for the state. The problem is that it costs the Ohio Lottery around $54,200 a month to operate and regulate these kiosks. The Lottery pays $650,000 a year on staffing to regulate sports wagering.

Based on numbers from January through September, Ohio’s sports betting kiosks have generated $218,850 in revenue for the state. That’s an average of just over $24,300. This means the Ohio Lottery is losing around $29,900 every month on these sports betting kiosks.

That doesn’t include the $335,000 the Lottery paid in startup costs. Thankfully that isn’t a monthly figure; otherwise, things would look much worse. However, the organization is still on pace to lose around $358,800 from sports betting kiosks.

Can sports betting kiosks turn these numbers around?

As mentioned, September was the second-best month for Ohio’s sports betting kiosks. Bettors wagered $1.28 million during that timeframe which was almost double the $742,000 wagered at the machines in August.

Thanks to the start of NFL betting and the college football season, September is one of the busiest times of the year in the sports betting world. However, even with that boost, sports betting kiosks in Ohio couldn’t come close to breaking even.

The NFL season ends in January, and after March Madness, the sports betting action traditionally falls off during summer. In other words, there isn’t another big kick in the pants coming.

So if the Ohio Lottery is concerned with these numbers, then the organization would need to drastically change how much they are spending on regulating the machines.

That being said, it’s unknown if the Lottery views this as an issue because money comes in from other places.

They recorded a record-breaking $4.5 billion in traditional lottery sales during the 2022 fiscal year. Scratch-offs led the way with sales of $2.34 billion, while draw-based game sales reached $2.1 billion.

So, the lottery is doing okay for itself despite losing nearly $30,000 a month on sports betting kiosks. Time will tell if any changes are on the way.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayOhio. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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