Ohio Becomes Fifth State With Sports Betting Handle Above $1 Billion

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • Online operators claimed $205 million of a $208.9 million revenue pool
  • Sports betting revenues are taxed at a 10% rate in Ohio
  • The Ohio governor wants to double the tax rate by 2024-2025

Ohio sports betting produced over $1.1 billion in wagers during its first month of operation in January 2023.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) revealed the final figures Tuesday. In addition to the massive handle, sportsbooks combined to earn $208.9 million in revenue. The 16 online operators produced $205 million of that total, compared to $3.2 million in revenue at 14 local sportsbooks.

Sports betting revenues are taxed at a rate of 10%, meaning sports betting’s resounding early success created $20.9 million in public funding.

A strong start

Ohio’s enormous sports betting figures come despite sportsbooks handing out a slew of pre-launch, launch, and new-user bonuses. In total, these promotions exceeded a value of $320 million, although companies cannot remove these from their tax bill.

FanDuel dominated the Ohio market as it has dominated many states, producing a handle of $494.2 million. DraftKings’ $344 million handle was the second-most of all legal sportsbooks, and BetMGM’s $82.1 million was third.

Ohio’s success makes it one of five states to produce a handle of over $1 billion in a month, along with New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Nevada. It also shattered New York’s first-month revenue record of $123.8 million.

The outpour of Ohio bettors also moves the midwest into a new position of power in the gambling market. Having two billion-dollar-per-month producers (Ohio and Illinois) in the same area shifts power away from the West and Nevada and the tri-state area. Ohio and Illinois both also have tons of local sporting attractions, such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Chicago Cubs, among others.

Of those, the Bengals’ success in January—a month in which they won a regular-season and two playoff games and reached the AFC Championship—surely had a profound impact on betting participation. That combined with exciting promotions around that time, such as Rob Gronkowski’s $10 million kick during the Super Bowl, helped attract fans that would have kept their phones in their pockets in previous years.

Ohio also has a regional advantage moving into the upcoming sports schedule. The MLB regular-season starts on March 30, allowing bettors to cash in on local teams like the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians. The NBA playoffs are also just around the corner, and the Cavaliers have a legitimate chance to reach and even win their first NBA Finals since the 2015-16 season.

What’s on the menu?

Ohio launched its sports betting market on January 1 at 12:01 a.m. ET. Ex-Reds player, coach and legend Pete Rose placed the first wager in the state’s history as an ironic display after he was banned from baseball for betting on games.

Sports betting was expanded nationwide after a 2018 federal court decision which is known as the PAPSA decision. Over 30 states had already legalized sports betting before Ohio even signed off on legislation allowing the creation of the market in December 2021, including bordering states Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia.

The long-term outlook for Ohio sports betting is strong. It is the seventh-most populated state in the United States and the fourth-most populated state amongst those with legal sports betting markets.

The OCCC also said that Ohioans took home more than $883.6 million in winnings in January alone. Even though that means the house came out on top by a hefty margin, many bettors will have gotten their taste of winning and will be back for more.

Change could also be on the menu for the new, prosperous market. Governor Mike DeWine wrote in a biennial budget proposal in February that he wants to hike the tax rate from 10 to 20% by the fiscal year 2024-25.

“It is part of the package designed to encourage better compliance with the rules,” said Dan Tierney, DeWine’s press secretary. “Ohio is serious about enforcing the regulations passed by the Ohio General Assembly.”

The proposal also calls for the elimination of the use of terms such as “risk-free” and “free” and the exclusion of those who threaten harm to others based on their gaming endeavors.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.