Sports bettors in Ohio put a lot less money into action in February than in their first month of legal betting — about $475 million less — but the results had to please sportsbook operators nonetheless.
The February sports gaming report released Friday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission showed the total betting handle amounted to $638.8 million last month, compared to $1.11 billion in January.
The operators’ combined revenue, on which they pay a tax of 10% to the state, was $82.9 million in February, down from a national record of $208.9 million in the first month. Though a steep monthly decline, the revenue still represented an extremely healthy hold rate of 13% for sportsbooks from bettors’ losing wagers.
The diminished numbers were to be expected, given that February is a short month, only one football game was played (though a big one), and the 17 online operators cut back sharply on the promotional credits that were used in January to compete with one another to sign up customers.
The bonuses and credits added up to $59.1 million in February, less than one-fifth of the $320 million given away in the first month. The difference meant that online operators actually ended up $22.8 million in the black for the month, in terms of revenue exceeding promotional credits, when they were $114.3 million in the red the first month.
Digital betting, classified by the state as Type A sports gaming, represented 97.2% of betting volume, with $621.1 million handle by the 17 operators, compared to $17.7 million in Type B retail betting at 14 casinos, racinos, and sports venues.
Ohioans made another $1 million in legal sports wagers in February on kiosks in bars and other outlets licensed by the Ohio Lottery, as that agency previously reported.
DraftKings closes in on FanDuel
While FanDuel and DraftKings again stood out as the new industry’s top leaders in the state — and presumably always will — the gap between them closed considerably in the second month of wagering.
FanDuel showed February handle of $232.8 million compared to $214.1 million for DraftKings. It meant FanDuel had 37.5% of the total online market and DraftKings had 34.5%, compared to percentages of 45.3% and 31.6% the month before.
Both operators suffered a steep month-to-month decline in activity, but FanDuel was the only sportsbook in the state to fail to match even half of its January handle.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings were among many operators whose gross revenue was less than half of what they were able to report in January. FanDuel’s state-leading revenue plummeted to $38.3 million from $103.2 million in the first month, and DraftKings’ revenue fell from $55.1 million to $24.5 million.
Checking in on the others
BetMGM remained the third most-used site in the state, with $46.1 million in handle ($5.1 million revenue), but bet365 leapfrogged Barstool Sportsbook to claim fourth place. Bet365, a worldwide titan that is not as well known in the U.S. as many of its rivals, showed $31 million in handle and $4.5 million in revenue last month.
Caesars Sportsbook also passed Barstool in usage, with $28.4 million in handle compared to Barstool’s $28.1 million. Caesars led Barstool in revenue, too, $3.8 million to $1.7 million.
Among smaller operators, BetRivers made an unusually pronounced gain in handle from $2.9 million to $4.6 million, in a month when most competitors saw less activity. Its revenue, however, was a meager $36,682.
Retail sportsbook betting of $17.7 million across the state amounted to 23% less than in the first month. Hollywood Casino Columbus took over from Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati as the busiest location, with $2.8 million in bets compared to $2.4 million.
JACK Cleveland wasn’t far behind with handle of $2.3 million, followed by Scioto Downs with $1.9 million, JACK Thistledown with $1.7 million, and MGM Northfield Park with $1.5 million.
Combined, the retail sportsbooks claimed revenue of $902,495 from their $17.7 million in bets.
Photo courtesy of JACK Entertainment