May Was Another Big Month For Ohio Betting

Ohio has been a strong sports betting market since day one of going live on January 1, 2023. A month after that, the state had the second-most geo-location checks in besides the state of New York.

Recent numbers have only gotten better too. You see, May was another blowout month for Ohio’s sports betting industry. Keep reading and we’ll bring you up to speed with the latest data and news in the Buckeye State:

Ohio Tops Last Year’s Numbers With Ease

$613 million — that’s how much the state of Ohio totaled in bets during the month of May. Mind you, May is a lukewarm month in the world of sports betting. Sure, the NBA and NHL playoffs are going on, but those pale in comparison to a regular week of football betting. But despite that, Ohio cleared more than half a billion in bets.

We need to level-set the number though. The best way of doing so is by comparing it to last year’s numbers in this same month. During May 2023 — only months after going live with sports betting — Ohio took in $448 million. So we’re looking at a 37 percent increase year over year. Not too shabby, folks!

This was combined betting on the top Ohio betting apps, in-person facilities, kiosks, and even phone calls (yes, some people still lay bets through talking on a phone). This data is fed to the Ohio Casino Control and Lottery Commission, which then reports it out to news outlets. Therefore, it should be accurate (unless the commission is pulling a “fast one” on us).

The commission even breaks up where that money is bet. For instance, a whopping $595 million out of the $613 million came via mobile apps. For states yet to legalize mobile betting in the U.S., you have data here (and other states) telling you bettors overwhelming like gambling down their phones — not in person. Only $16 million was bet at in-person locations in Ohio, and another $1 million on kiosks.

These numbers are par for the course in Ohio. Each month of this year, the comission has reported year-over-year gains except January (this makes sense since many promotional bonuses kicked off the legalization launch of betting in January 2023). The trend is up and we only expect Ohio to keep racking in the money.

Of course, the state doesn’t keep all of that money. No, no, not even close. First of all, the sportsbook operators need to keep their cut. In May, that was $67 million they kept after paying out winning wagers. Per usual, the sportsbooks are “in the green” — take that as you will as a bettor.

Ohio lawmakers tax profits at 20 percent. Therefore, the state banked around $12 million in May from sports betting. They should easily clear nine figures in profit in 2024, especially once football season comes around in September. Speaking of which, let’s get into that lucrative season just around the corner.

Football Season Likely To Be Huge In Ohio

Two things are obvious to anyone who’s in this space. One is football betting — both collegiate and NFL — drives massive amounts of activity in America. Two though, Ohio is one of the most-crazed states for the pigskin game thanks to the Buckeyes, Bengals, and Browns all being in their backyard. All three have massive expectations going into the 2024 campaign too.

For Ohio State, it always comes down to one game every year — the Buckeyes vs. the Wolverines of Michigan. The last three years, they’ve lost that game and the opportunity to play in the College Football Playoff. However, Jim Harbaugh is no longer the Wolverines coach, and the CFP also now includes 12 teams rather than just four. Because of this, hopes are high in Columbus.

Then there’s the Browns, who are fresh off an 11-6 season that included a trip to the playoffs. But amazingly, most of that success was accomplished with either quarterback Deshaun Watson injured or not playing well. This is now Year 3 of the Watson in Cleveland era. If he’s ever going to live up to the richest contract in the league that he received, then it’s now or never. Well, maybe not never because Watson’s contrast is guaranteed until 2026 so the Browns are stuck with him.

Then there’s the Bengals, who appear to have their long-term solution at QB in Joe Burrow IF he can stay healthy. The keyword being “if” in that sentence because Burrow spent last year and his rookie season with season-ending injuries. He’s now in Year 5 and Cincinnati has Super Bowl expectations if he can stay in the game.

Speaking of which, here’s how the best offshore betting sites have Cincinnati in Super Bowl futures bets — +1400, which is the fifth-best odds in the league. Only the Chiefs, Lions, Ravens, and 49ers have better chances. For what it’s worth, Cleveland is +4000 in those same odds, which is middle of the pack.

By the same token, Ohio State is +400 to win the national title. Only Georgia at +320 is better. So you have two out of three Ohio football teams expected to compete for a championship. Surely, that can only lead to even more betting activity in the state once September rolls around. We expect the blowout revenue numbers to only increase in the second half of the year.

Eric Uribe

Eric was born and raised in Nevada — the center of gambling in the United States. Throw in his natural interest in sports, and Eric was destined to be a sports bettor. This came to a head once Eric turned 21. Already a working sports journalist while in college, Eric began betting at his local sportsbook. Despite massive losses (at first), Eric continued to chip away at wagering. Eventually, he got half-decent at it. Now Eric is a trusted betting analyst. Not only is he skilled at making picks, but also breaking down the state of the industry — legalization, revenue, and innovation. You can read Eric's writings exclusively on OSB.