Ohio’s sports betting industry is off to a fast start in 2023, and the state will quickly rank among the biggest markets in the U.S., according to PlayOhio projections.
Ohio sports betting kicked off at midnight New Year’s Eve, and Ohio bettors jumped in during Week 17 of the NFL season. The NFL playoffs, Super Bowl and March Madness contributed to a fast start for the budding market in Ohio.
When it’s all said and done, Ohio sports betting could generate $8 billion in bets in 2023, according to the PlayOhio projection. That amount would put Ohio among the biggest markets in the U.S., even at such an early stage.
Ohio could rank as high as fourth in U.S.
Ohio’s new sports betting market is quite unique. The state is launching retail sportsbooks, dozens of sportsbook apps and hundreds of betting kiosks throughout the state simultaneously.
Still, there is no way for the state to compete with the likes of New York (population 20 million), Illinois (legalized sports betting in 2019) and New Jersey (legalized sports betting in 2018) when it comes to revenue figures — at least anytime soon.
PlayOhio projections put Ohio in the next tier with Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia. Our latest numbers have Ohio’s $8 billion as the No. 4 state on the list slightly ahead of the others.
Projected state handle in billions 2022-2023
|1. New York||$16.7||$17.1|
|3. New Jersey||11.2||10.1|
Ohio is a big state with big sports fandom
Ohio is the seventh-most populous state, with nearly 12 million residents and a healthy tourism industry.
It also is flush with sports fandom, with eight professional sports teams and a wealth of college football, including the massive draw of Ohio State University.
Launching sports betting ahead of the 2022 NFL season would have been a massive boon to sportsbooks and state coffers. Previous PlayOhio projections estimated Ohio would have brought in as much as $130 million per week in NFL betting volume during the 2022 NFL season.
That amount will begin during Week 17, however, and contribute to the January 2023 estimates. PlayOhio projects state sportsbooks will take in around $777 million in bets in January, followed by $707 million in February and $778 million in March.
Things will slow down before picking back up once the 2023 NFL season kicks off.
What will Ohio bettors wager on?
As in most states, most betting in Ohio will be on football and basketball — the two most popular sports in the country.
NFL and college football betting usually account for about 33% of a state’s handle. With two NFL franchises and a college program in OSU that is a perennial national title contender, that figure could be higher in Ohio, however.
Basketball makes up another one-third or so of betting action. NCAA March Madness is the biggest sports betting event of the year, and the Cleveland Cavaliers will attract their fair share of Ohio bettors.
Baseball will settle into a distant third, even with two MLB franchises in the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians.
Hockey betting will make up another few percentage points of the total, followed by sports such as golf, tennis and motorsports.
Licensing fees adding up
Licensing such a wide range of businesses to launch sports betting simultaneously has been a complicated endeavor. Still, Ohio is already reaping the rewards through licensing and application fees.
Between brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, online betting apps and kiosks in bars and restaurants, Ohio sports betting likely brought in more than $30 million in fees before taking a single bet.
Each approved business must pay application and license fees and then yearly fees to keep their licenses.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission fully licensed a total of 28 sportsbooks for the Jan. 1 launch, including 12 retail sportsbooks and 16 sports betting apps. That number will grow sooner than later, as several books are already conditionally approved to open at later dates.
The final Jan. 1 betting kiosk tally was 771, with another 300 or so close to the finish line.