Ohio Sets Revenue Record During Billion-Dollar Sports Betting Debut

Sportsbooks kept $209 million for eye-popping 18.8% hold rate in January

Ohioans broke the billion-dollar mark in sports betting in their first month at it, but startlingly, they lost more money doing so — almost $209 million — than has been the case in any month in any other state.

That unexpected pairing of news came from the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s first monthly report on Tuesday summarizing the new sports betting industry, which launched Jan. 1. It showed that mobile and retail sportsbooks collectively took $1.11 billion in January wagers, 98% of them by digital means rather than in-person.

The amount wagered was far more than in comparable border states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, where bettors in January risked $772.3 million and $490.9 million, respectively. January is typically a heavy betting month in places where it is legal, considering the popularity of NFL and NCAA postseason games in combination with the full slate of basketball and hockey action.

The revenue retained by the sportsbooks, a total of $208.9 million, stood out even more as a new national record. New York previously reported that sportsbooks there claimed revenue of $149.9 million in January, which had been the most ever. That was from far higher betting handle of $1.8 billion, as New York is a far bigger state.

The $208.9 million in revenue on $1.11 billion in bets represented a collective hold percentage of 18.8% for the sportsbooks, more than twice as high as what is typically expected in the industry. It suggests some pretty bad betting decisions were made in January by Ohioans.

At a 10% tax rate, the state would have earned $20.9 million as its share from the first month of sports betting, which primarily is directed to educational purposes.

FanDuel, DraftKings dominate

Of the total wagered, $1.09 billion came by the 16 digital, or Type A, operations that were up and running last month. (A 17th, betPARX, launched in February.)

As is the case in nearly every state, FanDuel and DraftKings were far and away the market leaders, although the extent of their leadership surpassed what is even commonly the case. FanDuel accounted for $494.2 million of online wagers, or 45.3% of the total, and retained $103.2 million in revenue — just over half of the amount earned in the entire state. Meanwhile, DraftKings showed $344 million in handle (31.6% of the total) and $55.1 million in revenue (26.8%).

No other operator took more than $100 million in bets, with BetMGM next at $82.1 million ($21.7 million revenue). It was followed by Barstool Sportsbook at $45.9/$5.4 million, bet365 at $38.6/$8.4 million, Caesars Sportsbook at $31.5/$4.1 million, and Hard Rock Digital at $20.7/$3.5 million.

There was a big drop-off in volume and earnings among the other nine operators, which generally lacked the big marketing efforts and brand power of the most-used sportsbooks. Their handle/revenue totals were: Tipico $10.7/$1.7 million; PointsBet $7.4/$1.2 million; betJACK $4.2 million/$407,071; Betfred $4 million/$371,891; BetRivers $2.9 million/$149,100; SuperBook $2 million/$207,163; Betr $1.1 million/$106,439/; Betway $782,343/$87,870; MVGBet $203,467/-$9,269.

The sportsbooks commonly extended special bonus offers as a way to attract customers in the first month, and they collectively reported $320 million expended on such offers. FanDuel led the way with $168.7 million.

Hard Rock leads casinos’ sportsbooks

The 14 casinos, racinos, and sports venues accepted bets totaling $23 million last month in what is known as the Type B category of physical sportsbook locations. They collectively reaped revenue of $3.2 million.

As might be expected, the casinos led the way, with Hard Rock Cincinnati tops in showing $4.4 million in handle and $792,713 in revenue. It was followed by JACK Cleveland Casino ($3.5 million/$270,483) and Hollywood Casino Columbus ($3.2 million/$485,860).

The MGM Northfield Park racino, with $2.1 million in bets and $421,627 in revenue, edged ahead of Scioto Downs ($1.8 million/$76,043); JACK Thistledown ($1.6 million/$112,353); Hollywood Casino Toledo ($1.5 million/$137,080); Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway ($1.5 million/$275,493); and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley ($1.2 million/$156,129).

The remaining sportsbooks’ handle and revenue were Belterra Park ($893,945/$194,950); the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse ($851,767/$205,781); Miami Valley Gaming ($357,888/$106,938); the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark ($119,802/-$8,646); and FC Cincinnati’s temporary bar location ($6,274/-$223).

The casino commission’s monthly report does not include betting done by kiosk at the 700-plus Type C lottery retailer locations that took bets in January. The Ohio Lottery previously reported that those collectively took some $850,000 in wagers last month.

Photo: Shutterstock


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