Editor’s Note: Ohio Sports Betting Officially Underway As Of Jan. 1, 2023
Ohio sports betting is finally here, but the state missed out on the vast majority of the NFL season.
Launching sports betting ahead of September’s 2022 NFL kickoff would have been a dream scenario for Ohio, at least from a revenue perspective. According to a PlayOhio analysis, missing out on the NFL Week 1 kickoff started a healthy tab of missed opportunities for sportsbooks and state coffers.
Based on an analysis of other states and the fact that Ohio boasts two NFL franchises, PlayOhio estimates that legal sportsbooks in Ohio would have brought in as much as $130 million per week in NFL betting volume alone during the 2022 NFL season.
The weekly gross revenue — or combined win for the sportsbooks — could have come out to around $7 million per week, spurring upwards of $700,000 in tax revenue per NFL week. However, promotions and the timing of daily reporting make it difficult to project exactly how much tax revenue Ohio would have added per week. The state cannot exceed a 10% tax rate, so any adjustments will reduce that rate and the total tax revenue figure.
“If Ohio does wait until the new year to launch, the opportunity cost will be substantial,” says PlayOhio analyst Eric Ramsey.
“In sports betting, there is no substitute for the NFL season. But considering the strength of Ohio’s overall regulatory framework for sports betting so far, the cost of being so deliberate may prove one worth paying.”
Football will be a major chunk of Ohio sports betting
Looking across its own borders, the Buckeye State is clearly not early to the game. But so far, Ohio has designed a sports betting environment that rivals the nation’s leaders.
According to the PlayOhio analysis, Ohio sports betting could generate $9 billion to $12 billion in total annual handle within its first few years. Given the trends elsewhere and the runway that operators have to prepare for launch, Ohio’s sports betting market is looking at a very speedy ramp-up.
Ohio’s handle could even reach $8 billion to $10 billion in Year 1.
Football betting represents around 30% of national handle, and Ohio offers a robust collection of teams bettors are interested in. The Cincinnati Bengals played in the Super Bowl last year, and the Cleveland Browns are expected to push for a playoff spot this season. Both teams rank among the top-11 best odds to win Super Bowl 57 at Caesars Sportsbook Ohio.
Ohio State University is a perennial NCAA national title contender, and the University of Cincinnati made the College Football Playoff last season. Ohio also has six more FBS college football teams, which all play in the Mid-American Conference.
PlayOhio estimate: 85% of football bets will be on NFL
PlayOhio estimates that Ohio’s football betting handle will include 85% NFL and 15% college, based on reporting in other states and Ohio offering two NFL teams.
If football betting represents one-third of an estimated $10 billion handle, Ohio will attract about $2.8 billion in NFL bets and around $500 million from college football.
The $2.8 billion season-long NFL handle split across 18 regular season weeks, three playoff weeks and the Super Bowl is nearly $130 million per week. That $130 million average would amount to more than 1% of the state’s projected annual sports betting handle every NFL weekend.
For the season, NFL betting in Ohio would bring in an average of $7.5-$8 million in handle per game. Nationally, sportsbooks hold 5.4% of football bets. That means Ohio can expect $400,000-$450,000 in operator revenue per NFL game — or about $7 million in weekly gross NFL revenue.
Projecting taxes from sports gaming is complicated, but the numbers are big
Using raw revenue, the 10% state share of $7 million gross NFL revenue would be $700,000 per week of NFL games. As noted, that figure could be high. But missing the start of the 2022 NFL season will reduce the season total and the total amount bet on the 2023 Super Bowl through futures bets.
A conservative estimate of tax revenue for the 2022 NFL season based on the overall numbers would be about $400,000-$500,000 per week, according to the PlayOhio analysis.
Ohio’s sports betting law allows for the creation of up to 46 online sports wagering sites/apps, 40 retail sportsbooks and potentially thousands of sports betting kiosks at restaurants, bars and grocery stores throughout the state that offer Ohio Lottery terminals.
PlayOhio will continue to cover Ohio launch news as the state moves closer to legalizing sports betting.
Other betting states offer a glimpse of what Ohio can expect
Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada and Oregon report their percent of handle by sport. These states’ sports betting rules and offerings vary, as do their collections of professional and college sports teams.
Football averages a 25.6% handle across these five markets. Nevada’s 33.6% is a better projection for Ohio, because Ohio has two NFL teams compared to one for Colorado and Illinois. Nevada just has the Las Vegas Raiders, but the state essentially represents a melting pot of bettors from across the country.
Oregon and Mississippi do not have NFL teams.
Ohio sports betting starts on Jan. 1
It’s official: Sports betting in the Buckeye State will begin on Jan. 1, 2023.
“Once the ball drops in Times Square, sports gaming can commence,” said Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Sports betting can begin right at midnight, so plenty of operators will be opening their doors for business at various points throughout the day.
Ohio will be missing out on the vast majority of the NFL calendar.
However, the state’s January launch will at least give gamblers access to betting on the NFL Playoffs. That could help get Ohio off to a hot start during its first few weeks of legal betting in 2023.
In fact, PlayOhio projects that sports betting could generate $8.0 billion in bets in 2023. Ohio bettors will jump in during Week 17 of the NFL season. The NFL playoffs and Super Bowl betting will follow over the next few weeks before March Madness adds to the volume and things slow down during the summer months.
The Cleveland Browns travel to face the Washington Commanders on New Year’s Day, while the Cincinnati Bengals host the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football the following evening.
Fans attending these games will have to place bets on apps inside the Browns’ and Bengals’ stadiums, as the NFL bans in-stadium betting at retail sportsbooks during games. Because of the rule, the Bengals passed on applying for a retail license. The Browns will have a a Bally’s-branded lounge inside FirstEnergy Stadium, but it will not take bets on game days.