HomeOhio Sports Betting NewsWhy Did the Ohio Betting Handle Plunge in February?

Why Did the Ohio Betting Handle Plunge in February?

It's a given in nearly every U.S. state that adopts sports betting that the second full month of legalized action cannot match up with the first month's flurry of wagers when many sports fans indulge deeply in their newfound opportunity.

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But in Ohio, the plunge was accentuated by the fact that legal betting began in January – with a full slate of NFL playoff games – and that was followed by the “dog days” of February, with only the Super Bowl on tap, with only 28 calendar days, and with NCAA men’s basketball “March Madness” looming.

So with Ohio’s recent belated release of the February betting numbers in the state, the dropoff should come as no surprise.

After a remarkable $1.1 billion “handle,” or amount wagered, in Ohio in January, that figure dwindled to $639 million in February.

Still, that February handle was bested only by New York ($1.4 billion), New Jersey ($847 million), and Nevada ($659 million).

“I can’t say that it was completely unexpected,” Jessica Franks, spokesperson for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told NBC4i.com. “We had a lot of, you know, built up, pent up… excitement over the launch in January.”

States typically report that more than 90% of wagers occur online, and in Ohio that figure in February was an industry-high 97%.

Two DFS Companies Dominate Ohio’s Betting Market

Another typical result is that daily fantasy sports giants FanDuel and DraftKings – which since the U.S. legal sports betting revolution of 2018 have proven far more nimble than traditional casino company behemoths such as Caesars and MGM – dominated the action.

FanDuel led the way with $233 million, or almost 38% of the state’s total handle for sportsbooks of $621 million. Draft Kings claimed a market share of more than 34% of wagers at $214 million.

BetMGM was a very distant third at $46 million, or 7%. Bet365, Caesars, and Barstool each came in between $28 million and $31 million in handle.

None of the other sportsbooks in Ohio produced more than 2% of the total handle in February.

Aside from the slower sports calendar, Ohio handle dimmed in February due to a massive drop in promotional spending – from $320 million in credits for new signups in January to just $59 million in February.

Simply put, Ohio residents who were eager to get the “sports betting party started” mostly did so right away in January, so they got the lion’s share of such deals.

“Now that we’re beyond the launch period, some of those marketing tactics might be starting to change a little bit, so that could be a part of the reason is that there’s just there wasn’t quite that level of promotional play being used,” Franks said.

Revenue and Tax Figures

As for revenue for sportsbooks, the dip was from $209 million in January – so far, a U.S. record month – to $82 million in February.

That led to almost $21 million in state sports betting tax revenue in January but just over $8 million in February.

Most of that tax revenue goes toward education aid for young students, with far lesser shares for gambling addiction services and aid for military veterans.

As a frame of reference, New York state regulators just announced that the betting handle jumped from $1.4 billion in February to $1.8 billion in March.

A similar rebound in Ohio, which is fairly likely, would bump up the state’s March handle to more than $800 million when the numbers finally are released.

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