Ohio Hits 10-Figure Mark In Sports Betting Handle

Safe to say legalized sports betting has been a massive — and we mean massive — success in Ohio. The state just crossed $10 billion in total sports handle. That’s a billion with a b, folks!

For those not in the know, the handle represents the amount of money wagered by bettors. It does not mean the state of Ohio takes home that entire $10 billion, not even close. Ohio only gets a piece of that piece based on its tax rate. We’ll talk more about what they keep later, but let’s level-set Ohio’s sports betting success with the rest of the country first.

10-Figure Club Is Getting Crowded

In total, there have been 12 different states that hit the 10-figure club in terms of betting handle. That represents almost one-third of the 38 states with legal betting nowadays. Here’s who Ohio is trying to catch up to:

New Jersey ($50.86 billion): New Jersey and its landmark Supreme Court lawsuit is the reason why sports betting is even legal outside of Nevada. So it’s no surprise they lead this list. Early on, they also benefitted from New York not having legalized betting but that advantage ended when the Empire State legalized it, speaking of which, that leads us to our next section:

New York ($43.41 billion): Simply put, New York is a behemoth thanks to housing the most populous city in the country, New York City. It’s not if, but a matter of when, will the state surpass New Jersey. That could happen later this year because the state’s trajectory has been nothing but up since launching in January 2022.

Nevada ($40.57 billion): Nevada may have lost its monopoly on sports betting, but the state still attracts bettors in droves to Las Vegas. Those visited, plus betting-savvy locals, have kept the Silver State afloat on these rankings. We expect that to continue cause Vegas isn’t going to stop bringing in tourists anytime soon.

Illinois ($33.89 billion): Illinois is in a similar camp to New York. They weren’t the first to market with sports betting, but they quickly dominated the ranks due to their population size. Chicago remains a top-5 city in terms of U.S. population, which drives a large portion of the state’s handle.

Pennsylvania ($29.54 billion): Pennsylvania is a sneaky-good sports-betting state. Thanks to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the state benefits from having a deep array of pro sports teams to bet on. Local betting surely has driven up the in-state numbers.

Colorado ($18.01 billion): There’s a noticeable gap in betting handles after Pennsylvania. The rest of these states aren’t doing bad, but their numbers pale in comparison to the “top dogs.” Either way, Colorado finds itself in the middle of the pack. The state is known for its very loose policies on “substances” and gambling so betting is rooted in the culture of Colorado.

Indiana ($16.62 billion): Is there a Caitlin Clark effect on Indiana betting too? We can’t say for sure, but we wouldn’t doubt it. Indiana is undergoing a sports renaissance, not only from Clark but the Colts and Pacers too — both are on the up and up. We expect that interest to continue to funnel into sports betting.

Arizona ($16.45 billion): We’ll be honest, we were surprised to see Arizona this high on the list. Maybe it’s the close proximity to Las Vegas that’s rubbed off on Arizona bettors, or heck, maybe there’s just something in the water over there that makes them inclined to wager.

Virginia ($16.11 billion): Among East coast states, Virginia was one of the first to market with legal betting. They went live in January 2021 — likely attracting bettors from Washington DC and Baltimore early on. Those locations now have legal betting of its own, but Virginia is a big enough state to keep the action going.

Michigan ($15.65 billion): Michigan and sports betting just go along, don’t they? The state has a pro team presence in all the major sports, however, it might be the college program that’s the biggest sports betting draw. The Wolverines, of course, just won the national championship in football — a tentpole event that surely brought out all the in-state bettors.

Tennessee ($12.88 billion): One big thing that Tennessee has going for it is most of its Southern neighbors remain opposed to sports betting. Tennessee (along with North Carolina) are on the few Southern states with legal sports betting — despite this region being football obsessed. Surely, some of those neighboring states have crossed into Tennessee to wager on some sports and drive this number up.

Opportunities Remain In Ohio

We talked about tax rates earlier and it’s interesting to note, Ohio previously raised its tax on sports wagering. Upon launch, Ohio was taxing at a 10 percent rate. They then passed a bill to jump that number up to 20 percent. It’s not unthinkable that Ohio will raise again in the future — possibly following the example Illinois just set (and New York before them) with significantly bigger rates in sports betting.

We say that because we don’t see this train stopping anytime soon. Ohio is a sports-obsessed state thanks to the Buckeyes, Brows, Bengals, Cavaliers, and Guardians. If anything, the population’s deep desire to throw money on games through Ohio apps is only going to increase.

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.