Ohio Residents Experience First Day Of Sports Betting On Home Turf

Written By Matt Schoch on January 1, 2023 - Last Updated on January 3, 2023
Welcome To Ohio Sports Betting

Kegan Riley has been betting on sports for a little while now.

It was a perk of living near the Michigan border for the Toledo resident. With a short drive, Riley could cross into a state with online sports betting available for nearly two years.

Well, Sunday, Riley saved himself a drive. And when asked about his experience with the first day of Ohio sports betting, he quickly identified the best part.

“Honestly, the fact that I don’t have to drive to Michigan to place bets,” Riley said.

That’s among the positive experiences shared to PlayOhio about the launch, as Ohio became the 32nd state (plus Washington D.C.) to add some form of sports betting to its online gambling options.

Robust launch for Ohio sports betting

And Ohio didn’t do it quietly. It was a certifiably huge sports betting launch, as evidenced by the numbers of online transactions, which put Ohio ahead of even New York.

The Buckeye State added online sportsbooks, retail sportsbooks and betting kiosks at non-traditional locales like sports bars and grocery stores, the real wildcard of a dynamic market.

PlayOhio learned last week that many kiosks would not be ready by Sunday. Just 771 places were expected to be operational with sports betting kiosks this week. That’s a lot, but a far cry from the 1,500 that were pre-approved to do so.

From inside the industry, PlayOhio checked with operators and stakeholders and did not learn of widespread issues in the state.

Although many Ohio residents would have been happier if a certain field goal went in on Saturday night.

Not everything was smooth for everyone on Ohio launch

Riley had a FanDuel Sportsbook account from his previous trips to Michigan. All he had to prepare for launch was to add money to his existing account.

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For others, robust bonus signup options were available. FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook built (pretty much) can’t-lose promos around the Cleveland Browns game on Sunday to help build boost local bankrolls.

Also, like everywhere else: Ohio bettors did bet on the home teams. On Friday, DraftKings reported that 49% of the moneyline handle was on the Browns to top Washington. A few hours into Ohio sports betting, DraftKings reported 55% shortly before kickoff. Moneyline handle on the Bengals to win Monday night against the Bills went up from 44% to 56%. The Browns bets worked; we’ll see about Cincy.

But as with all launches, not everything went smoothly.

For instance, Brett Gibbons of TheLines said he experienced issues on Sunday. Among them:

  • Missing bonus money
  • Popular depositing mechanism was down for a time

The Northeast Ohio resident shared his firsthand experience of day one in a piece for PlayOhio.

A winning day, despite some losses too

At PlayOhio, we’ll keep a close eye on how the market evolves: the positives and the struggles or delays endured, as each state has had its unique hiccups.

It wasn’t all positive even for Riley, who saved a Sunday drive but also fell victim to something experienced bettors know all too well.

Riley had the teams right in both of his NFL bets, but his Kansas City Chiefs wager didn’t hit, winning 27-24 but not covering the spread.

A 1-1 day, but all and all, a winning one nonetheless.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt Schoch has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. Schoch has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates, “Ypsi’s Emoni.”

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