ESPN Bet Stands Out During Successful November For OH Sportsbooks

Written By Steve Schult on January 3, 2024
A picture of an upward sloped dollar bill for a story about Ohio sportsbooks' strong November, particularly ESPN Bet

November was one of the best months of 2023 for Buckeye State sports betting.

Ohio online sportsbooks handled a total of $841.1 million worth of wagers. Additionally, bettors placed another $23.1 million at the state’s brick-and-mortar operations.

Altogether, November’s handle totaled $864.2 million, according to numbers released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

The nine-figure total is the second-largest monthly handle in the short history of the state’s market. Last year’s January launch was the only bigger month. Bettors wagered more than $1 billion during the first month.

ESPN brand made a difference for PENN Entertainment in Ohio

Up until November, PENN Entertainment’s online sportsbook was Barstool-branded. The company bought a stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million in 2020 and bought the remainder of it for $388 million last February.

As a result, PENN’s online sportsbook was Barstool branded. But the company simultaneously sold it back to founder Dave Portnoy for $1 and inked a $2 billion deal with ESPN last summer.

Then, PENN became the backing behind the ESPN Bet online sportsbook. November was the first month ESPN Bet was in Ohio and the results were much better than PENN ever saw with Barstool.

ESPN Bet Ohio handled $70.8 million in wagers. By comparison, Barstool Sportsbook reported a monthly handle of $19.8 million a month earlier. In other words, the ESPN brand alone nearly tripled PENN’s monthly handle.

ESPN Bet leapfrogged these operators to solidify itself as the third option:

FanDuel and DraftKings swap roles

For the first six months of 2023, FanDuel Ohio was the most popular online sportsbook for Ohioans. The Flutter-owned online betting giant consistently reported both the largest handle and taxable revenue to the OCCC.

But they were overtaken by DraftKings Ohio in July in terms of handle.

FanDuel remained atop the Ohio sportsbook revenue rankings.

Those roles were flipped in November.

FanDuel reported a monthly handle of $293.25 million, regaining the handle edge over DraftKing’s $275.8 million. However, for the first time, DraftKings won the most from its customers compared to any other operator.

FanDuel had taxable revenue of $20.98 million, which was just shy of DraftKing’s $22.5 million worth of taxable revenue.

It marked the first time that the Boston-based gaming behemoth won more than any other operator in Ohio.

November 2023 Ohio online sports betting numbers

Sportsbook November Handle Taxable Revenue
FanDuel $293,251,869$20,984,822
DraftKings $275,789,729$22,516,828
ESPN BET $70,848,937$11,985,667
BetMGM $50,052,941$3,332,663
Bet365 $45,375,960$3,747,002
Caesars $38,440,867$1,299,112
Fanatics $25,843,252$1,126,869
Hard Rock $7,999,844$402,641
Tipico $6,702,598$482,573
betJACK$4,110,488 $273,641
Bally's $2,155,031N/A

Operators made $68.15 million

In total, online sportsbooks won $66.8 million from bettors. Retail sportsbooks added another $1.36 million to the taxable revenue total. All in all, Ohio operators netted $68.15 million.

The state taxes both online and brick-and-mortar operators at 20%. This means the state received payments totaling $13.63 million.

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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