Ohio Sports Betting Handle Hits $10 Billion Since 2023 Launch

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 8, 2024 08:00 PM
Ohio Sports Betting Handle Hits $10 Billion Since 2023 Launch

The Ohio sports betting market has officially reached a pretty massive milestone. 

Less than two years after sports betting in Ohio went live, the state has reportedly crossed a $10 billion sports betting handle. No, you are not misreading this. It is, in fact, billion with a “b.” 

Just to avoid any confusion: Sports betting handles are not pure profit. They simply represent the total dollar amount of bets placed over a given time period. This means that since sports betting in the Buckeye State launched in January 2023, more than $10 billion in wagers have been submitted.

Anyone who has followed the progression of sports gambling in Ohio knows that, from a popularity perspective, it has been a rousing success. Monthly sports betting handles routinely eclipse $500 million. So this $10 billion milestone tracks with that level of action.

At the same time, it is a massive number. Even those who understand the month-over-month business are liable to receive sticker shock. And with that in mind, let’s dive into the full details of the latest Ohio sports betting handle update as well as what it means for the future.

Ohio Sports Betting Handle Joins Rarefied Air

The Buckeye State’s $10 billion milestone was recently announced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission in tandem with the release of their April sports betting handle. (Handle reports routinely take a couple of months to reach the public.) Grant Leonard of Covers.com broke down the entire announcement:

“Ohio sports betting has been a formidable force in the legal sports betting industry since its inception, and April marked a major milestone month. The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) reported a $673.2 million handle in April, which helped the state eclipse $10 billion in bets just 16 months after the legal market launched on Jan. 1, 2023. The Arizona sports betting market had previously held the industry record for fewest months to reach the $10 billion mark, reaching that milestone in 20 months in April 2023. Ohio also became just one of 12 states to surpass $10 billion in lifetime handle. Tennessee sports betting was the 11th to do so.

As Leonard mentioned, the Ohio sports betting market is just the 12th of 38 markets to hit the $10 billion markets. The other markets to join them are:

  • Arizona sports betting
  • Colorado sports betting
  • Indiana sports betting
  • Illinois sports betting
  • Michigan sports betting
  • Nevada sports betting
  • New York sports betting
  • Pennsylvania sports betting
  • Tennessee sports betting
  • Virginia sports betting

Many will likely realize that Ohio was the last market among this group to launch sports betting. That makes their rise into the $10 billion club all the more impressive And it raises the question, what’s driving Ohio sports betting popularity?

Online Sports Betting Element is Proving Huge for Ohio Market

When Ohio launched legal gambling, they did so while allowing the top online sportsbooks in the United States to enter the market. This has proven to be a huge move for their sports betting handle. 

Some states only permit on-site sports betting. Many, like Ohio, wind up legalizing both. This increases access in a way that maximizes betting-handle potential. 

Still, the online element is particularly valuable. The overwhelming majority of bets placed in the United States are processed through an online sportsbook. Ohio is no exception. Nearly 98 percent of wagers placed in April were run through Ohio mobile betting sites. There is no overstating that share. It is well above the national average (which continues to climb in its own right). 

Granted, Ohio isn’t necessarily unique when it comes to legal online sports betting. Plenty of other states have it. Licensing online sportsbooks in Ohio doesn’t entirely explain why the Buckeye State is the quickest to reach $10 billion in total bets.

Truthfully, the state’s population takes care of the rest. According to StatsAmerica.org, Ohio ranks seventh in total population, with almost 11.8 million residents. That kind of market size lends itself to lucrative business.

Of course, the Illinois sports betting market (No. 6), the Pennsylvania sports betting market (No. 5) and the New York sports betting market (No. 4) all boast larger populations. And yet, Ohio reached $10 billion faster than any of them. What gives?

Ohio Sports Betting May Have Launched at the Perfect Time

The balance of success for Ohio sports betting can be explained away by timing. When many other states launched legal gambling, it was more of a novel concept. By the time sports betting in Ohio launched, though, more than half the country had already implemented it. That meant people in Ohio were more familiar with the practice than, say, residents in Pennsylvania, which rolled out retail sports betting back in November 2018.

Various other factors are at play as well. The next biggest one is, perhaps, the relatively flexible offerings and tax breaks for online sportsbooks in Ohio. Take sports betting in New York as an example. They launched wagering about a year before the Buckeye State. But in the Empire State’s case, they limit certain prop betting lines that are available to their residents. Ohio is much less restrictive in this case. 

Plus, while Buckeye State sports betting officials have emphasized the importance of regulation, the state has given fairly large tax credits to sportsbooks for their promotional offerings. Around the launch of sports gambling in Ohio, this incentivized (or allowed) sports betting operators to run more aggressive and lucrative bonus programs. And that, in turn, naturally appealed to a wider audience.

Put everything we’ve discussed together, and it seems the Ohio sports betting market was always primed for immense success.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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