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Out of the blocks

The total sports betting handle in Ohio’s first month of operations reached $1.1bn.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) released the January figures on Tuesday. Sportsbooks generated revenue of almost $209m from the $1.1bn handle.

most of the bets were placed through online sportsbooks

The OCCC noted how most of the bets were placed through online sportsbooks, with 16 platforms up and running in January. The 14 retail sportsbooks in the state generated revenue of just $3.2m. Gaming revenue for the four casinos in Ohio reached $86m for the month.

Exceeding expectation

While many expected a strong start to legal sports betting in Ohio, the actual figures are even better than originally anticipated. Ohio was the state with the second-largest betting handle in January. Predictably, New York remained the leader with a $1.8bn betting handle.

FanDuel’s online sportsbook took in the most bets in January, with $494m worth of wagers accepted. It was followed by DraftKings with $343m in betting handle and BetMGM with $82m. Tax revenue generated from sports betting was almost $21m.

sportsbook operators spent almost $320m on promotional gaming credits

Sportsbook operators are known to spend big money when a new market launches to try to gain as many customers as possible, often offering enticing new signup offers. For January, Ohio sportsbook operators spent almost $320m on promotional gaming credits.

The OCCC is focusing on making sure that operators stay in line when promoting their offerings. The state regulator has already taken action against a few operators that were deemed to have breached advertising rules, including BetMGM, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook.

A bright future

It took a long time for legal sports betting to come to Ohio. While the federal ban on betting came to an end in May 2018, it wasn’t until December 2021 that a bill legalizing sports betting gained sufficient support in the state. Neighboring states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan already had legal betting by then. Sportsbooks in the Buckeye State were finally able to launch on January 1.

It appears Ohio is well-positioned to develop a strong sports betting sector. Only a select few states, including New York and New Jersey, regularly record monthly betting handles of over $1bn. Ohio is helped by being the seventh most-populated US state and the fourth most-populated state with legal sports betting.