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Ohio placed more than $7.65 billion in sports bets in 2023


Ohio placed more than $7.65 billion in sports bets in 2023

Feb 06, 2024 | 4:55 am ET
By Megan Henry
Ohio placed more than $7.65 billion in sports bets in 2023
Getty Images photo of online sports betting.

Ohioans wagered $7.65 billion in sports betting last year — the first year it was legal in Ohio.  

Ohio legalized sports betting in 2021 and the law went into when the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2023 — moments before the Ohio State Buckeyes lost to the Georgia Bulldogs in the final moments of the Peach Bowl. 

Sports betting brought in more than $936 million in total tax revenue and the rest of the money was paid out in winnings, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission. 

“From the Commission’s perspective, Ohio’s first year of sports gaming went fairly smoothly – we did have some advertising violations from a few operators at the beginning of the year, but once those were addressed we have not had any other violations,” Jessica Franks, OCCC spokesperson, said in an email. 

Less than a week after legal sports betting began in Ohio, the OCCC announced it was seeking $150,000 fines against BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings for running ads without including messages about responsible gambling. 

Unsurprisingly, January saw the most wagers with more than $1.11 billion in bets placed. November had the second highest amount of wagers with more than $864 million while July had the lowest amount of wagers with $331 million.

Wagers dipped in the summer, but the fall saw an upward trajectory of bets, starting in September when there was $690 million wagered —likely coinciding with football season. 

Data visualization made with Flourish

Tax revenue

Most of the tax revenue from Ohio sports betting goes toward the General Revenue Fund for schools, 2% goes toward trying to curb problem gambling, and 0.50% of licenses fees go to a fund for veterans.

Ohio initially had a 10% tax rate on sports betting, but lawmakers doubled that in the state budget. Gov. Mike DeWine, who did not try to hide his disdain for the aggressive sports gambling advertising, put the increase in his version of the budget. The House took it out, but the Senate put it back in. 

More calls to the problem gambling hotline

Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline received 10,637  calls in 2023 — a sizable spike from the 6,835 calls the helpline got in 2022.  

“While we knew calls would increase and anticipated this due to the increases seen in other states already operating sports betting, such a dramatic increase was surprising and lets us know there is a lot of work still to be done for responsible gambling advocates statewide,” Michael Buzzelli, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio associate director, said in a statement.

Before sports betting became legal in Ohio, the OCCC opened enrollment for the Time Out Ohio Program which gives people the option to self-exclude themselves from casinos, racinos and sports gaming. The self-imposed ban can be for one year, five years or for a lifetime. 

Sports betting is legal in 38 states.

Follow OCJ Reporter Megan Henry on X.