Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

CLEVELAND — Ohio’s first year of sports betting is officially in the books, with more than $7.6 billion wagered in the first 12 months.

“Outside of New York, that’s the fastest launch we’ve seen in any state,” said David Forman, V.P. of Research with the American Gaming Association, the national trade association representing the nation’s gambling industry.

The amount wagered was down 4% from November, which was surprising, given the calendar. December had not only an extra day, it was an NFL Sunday. But even though the wagers were down slightly for the month, the amount of taxable revenue those bets generated was actually 28% higher than November. Such is the up-and-down nature of sports betting.

“Sports betting is a little different than a lot of other casino games,” said Forman. “The math at the blackjack table or a slot machine is absolutely always going to favor the house over the long run and sports betting is going to favor the house over the long run too, but in the short run, sometimes luck favors the players.”

While much was made of the glitzy sports books when they opened a year ago, the reality is in Ohio, online remains king, with 97% of wagers coming through mobile or online devices. FanDuel accounted for 43% of bets; DraftKings was right behind with 30%. All others were in the single digits.

The ease of betting on sports online is also why a number of those smaller sports books, like Caesars in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, had several months where they actually paid out in bets more than they took in in wagers. That’s also why, across the country, the gambling market is still dominated by slots and table games.

“Nationally this year, sports betting will probably generate about $10 or $11 billion for gaming companies where the total gaming market of the U.S. with slot machines, blackjack tables and all of that is going to come in somewhere at probably $100 to $110 billion dollars,” Forman said.

Ohio gamblers are showing they have money for both as the state’s four casinos finished 2023 with a new record of over a billion dollars in total revenue for the year, including a December record of $91.7 million after all bets were paid.

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