The percentage of Ohio sports bettors who opened sportsbook accounts more than doubled that of New York bettors during the opening weekend of the respective states’ sports betting launches.
Ohioans created 784,000 unique sportsbook accounts during the first two days of legal online sports betting in their state, according to GeoComply, a firm that tracks gambling transactions. That is equal to 6.7% of Ohio’s population.
That’s a higher level of engagement than the January 2021 launches in New York and Louisiana. During its first 36 hours of online sports betting, Louisiana residents created unique sportsbook accounts equal to 3.6% of its population. For New York’s first weekend, it was 3.3%.
States' Per Capita Sports Betting Accounts Created During Opening Weekend
|Unique Accounts as % of State Population|
Ohioans’ rush to register for online sportsbooks illustrates the demand for sports betting since the wave of legalization began.
While it may be tempting to assume Ohio can compete with New York’s sports betting market, there are still important financial differences that will limit the amount of tax revenue sports betting will generate for Ohio.
Ohio Sports Betting Revenue Projections
Estimates for Ohio’s sports betting handle (the total amount wagered) vary wildly. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission predicted it would be $1.1 billion in 2023. PlayOhio recently projected $8 billion.
With about half the population of New York and double the unique signups, Ohio’s sports betting handle could rival New York’s. However, New York’s higher median household income could keep its handle above Ohio’s.
Also, Ohio taxes sportsbooks at 10% of their revenue (the amount of handle they win or “hold”). New York’s sportsbook tax rate is 51%. Even if Ohio sportsbook handle and taxable revenue are comparable to New York, Ohio has no chance of reaching New York’s level of tax revenue.
In contrast, Ohio sports betting will easily outpace Louisiana. Louisiana’s population is about 4.6 million. Ohio’s 11.8 million population gives Ohio sportsbooks revenue potential that dwarfs Louisiana.
Ohio’s Place in Midwestern Gambling
Overall, Ohio is set to become one of the largest sports betting markets in the United States, and it figures to be a major player in the Midwest. Midwestern states like Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois have grown into large gambling markets. They rival major northeastern markets like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (New York remains an outlier in terms of sportsbook handle and tax revenue.)
Ohio could also become one of the next battlegrounds for online casinos. Online casinos are legal in neighboring Michigan, one of the six states in which they are legal (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and West Virginia are the others). Profitable online gambling in Ohio would help supporters build a case favoring online casinos. That could lead to online casino markets opening up in the Midwest the way they have in the northeast.
In the meantime, Ohioans are showing how much enthusiasm has grown for sports betting since PASPA’s overturning in 2018.