The September handle and revenue nearly doubled what the state bookmakers reported for August and was most welcomed after a miserable summer for the bookies.
The bookies paid a $16.3 million street tax on a 20% tax rate for the right to do business in Ohio.
Mobile Paves The Way
$688 million was wagered during September via the World Wide Web or one of the betting apps available to Ohio residents and its visitors.
That far outweighed the $22.5 million in betting handle the 15 separate retail sportsbooks reported for September.
DraftKings Top September Mobile Operator
DraftKings Sportsbook Ohio was the app of choice for Ohioans, and the Boston-based bookmaker reported accepting $261.3 million in wagers. That resulted in $28.4 million in earnings, but they doled out $17 million in promotional free bets to accomplish that eye-popping number.
FanDuel Sportsbook finished runner-up to their Boston-based rival with a $207 million handle and a state-best $28.48 million revenue. They also enticed Ohioans with $12.1 million in freebies to lure Ohio residents into their same-game-parlay cards and other bankroll-busting gimmicks.
BetMGM ($46.1 million), bet365 ($41.8 million), and Caesars rounded out the top five betting apps of choice for Ohio residents.
Brick and Mortar Shops Flourish in September
Okay, maybe flourish is the wrong word, but the state’s 15 retail sportsbooks saw nearly a 35% boost from the $14.4 million August handle. That generated a paltry $2.1 million, and if these sportsbooks weren’t tied to a casino, they would likely shut down.
Hollywood Columbus (Barstool) accepted the most bets ($4.4 million), while Jack Thistledown (betJack) generated the most September revenue ($322,702).
Ohio’s Struggling Sportsbooks
There are 20 licensed Ohio sportsbooks, and there are only so many slices of the sports betting pie.
September means cheering on the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Ohio State Buckeyes, or any of the many college football teams based in Ohio. That also means betting on football, and while some bookmakers did well, others did not.
Parx Sportsbook was the only mobile operator not generating revenue during September. Five others, including Betway, Bally’s, Superbook, Prime Sports, and Betr, each generated less than $100,000 in revenue.
Fanatics has two retail stand-alone betting shops, and neither generated a nickel in revenue. They were only brick-and-mortar shops not earning any revenue–four locations earned less than $100,000 while the others reported modest September earnings.
What Does This Mean for Ohio Sports Bettors?
Football is king in Ohio, and if you can’t take a football bet from an Ohioan, then maybe find another business. $690 million in betting handle is nothing to sneeze at, and Ohio residents will continue hitting the counter until the football season concludes.
Mobile promotional free bets and welcome bonuses fueled the fire in September. The 20 bookmakers doled out $52.5 million in freebies. Bookmakers like FanDuel and DraftKings enticed Ohioans with a combined $29.1 million in free bets, odds boost, and welcome bonuses, while others like Superbook gave away only $18,311 in promotional wagers.
This begs the question;
If promotional wagers are the key to unlocking the Ohio revenue door, then why aren’t struggling Ohio bookies giving out more promotions or raising the value of the ones they already have?
That’s simple. FanDuel and DraftKings, like some others, are billion-dollar companies. They have the resources to pay off any big parlay hit that sometimes accompanies these promotions, whether others probably can’t afford to take that risk.
Finally, while some bookmakers flourish, others seem to be the ex that won’t let go. They don’t have anything to entice their beau and just hang around, hoping their ex will wake up one day and realize the mistake they made. I don’t expect that to happen, and we’ll likely see 50% of the 20 mobile operators closing their doors in Ohio over the next year or so.