4 takeaways from Ohio′s 2023 sports betting revenue data

Legal sports betting in the Buckeye state has now been live for over a year
Falcons wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (83) dives for a touchdown. Still, the call was overturned, and the ball was placed at the yard one during the second half in an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday, August 18, 2023, in Atlanta.
Miguel Martinezmiguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Falcons wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (83) dives for a touchdown. Still, the call was overturned, and the ball was placed at the yard one during the second half in an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday, August 18, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinezmiguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

As the clocked ticked midnight on the evening of December 31, 2022, Ohio residents watched in horror as Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles pushed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide left in the final moments of a 42-41 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022-23 College Football Playoff. While this was happening, as the day turned to the first moments of January 1, 2023, legal and online sports betting was launching in the state of Ohio.

While Ohio residents wouldn’t be able to place wagers on Ohio State in the forthcoming College Football Championship as a result of the missed field goal in the waning moments of 2022, Ohioans still jumped into sports betting with both feet during the early days of January.

More than a year later, we now have a full year of data from the Ohio Casino Control Commission including monthly details across the entirety of 2023 with respect to sports gaming revenue. Our team has analyzed the data, summarized monthly revenue across the major Ohio sports betting apps and extracted some takeaways worthy of consideration.

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Credit: XLM

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Credit: XLM

A few notes on the above data:

  • Above numbers are total gross receipts and are in millions of dollars. Rounded to nearest million.
  • The totals represented for each month are for the sportsbooks listed. The total sports betting revenue in the state of Ohio for each month is slightly higher than the number displayed since we are not including in the above data some of the smaller sportsbook apps that are available to users.
  • The numbers above are specific to online sports betting revenue and do not include retail sports betting revenue.

The following are some takeaways from the above data:

DraftKings and FanDuel combine for over 70% of the market

An immense amount of sports betting activity is flowing through the two market leaders. This is no surprise and is fairly common in most U.S. states. FanDuel and DraftKings got out of the gate with almost 80% of the above revenue in the month of January. This dipped down to the lower 70′s, picked up to 73-74% for September and October, in the higher activity months associated with football season, then dropped down to a smidge over 70% as ESPN BET rolled out to the market. More on ESPN BET in a moment.

The battle between DraftKings and FanDuel is an interesting one to watch. FanDuel was out in front for much of the first half of the year, especially when you look at January 2023 in isolation. DraftKings narrowed the gap through the summer and actually eclipsed FanDuel in September (261 million vs. 207 million). For the entire year, FanDuel did $2,717 million in total gross receipts in Ohio compared to DraftKings’ $2,506 million. Regardless of the battle between the two, these two are very far out in front of the other operators.

PENN’s up and down year

The Barstool Sportsbook penetration in the state of Ohio was undoubtedly disappointing. Barstool only eclipsed more than 5% of monthly total gross receipts once in Ohio (March 2023), but remained under 5% for much of the year, and drifted to under 3% in October. The downward trend during the summer into the start of football season could be in part explained by the fact that, in hindsight, we now know that PENN was planning its pivot from Barstool to ESPN and was likely not exerting much effort promoting the Barstool Sportsbook app during its last few months of existance.

ESPN Bet launched mid November and made an immediate splash. On our data above, ESPN BET registered a respectable 8.82% and 9.36% of total gross receipts in November and December, respectively. Now heavy promotional activity undoubtedly factors into this. We’ll need to analyze the data in the months ahead to see how ESPN’s share of the market shakes out as some of the promotional spend normalizes.

It’s been mentioned in the industry that ESPN BET is not necessarily taking share away from competition, but helping expand the sports betting market, pulling in more casual sports fans and bettors. Some of the data supports this as November and December saw the highest total gross receipts in Ohio for all of 2023 other than the initial launch month of January. PENN jumped from $20 million in October to $71 million and $73 million in November and December. Competition remained steady in these months.

bet365′s confident and methodical approach

bet365 has often been described as slowly, but confidently and methodically, entering the U.S. market. Now live in nine states with bet365 North Carolina coming next month, bet365′s Ohio data firmly plants the sportsbook as a top 5 sportsbook in the Buckeye state.

While perhaps a slow start in January with under 4% of total gross receipts, bet365′s performance through the remainder of 2023 is one of getting stronger. bet365 registered between 7-8% of total gross receipts throughout the March to August time frame and maintained 6+% for most of the September to December stretch. $452 million in total gross receipts put bet365 4th in our list behind FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, but ahead of PENN and Caesars.

bet365 is one of the biggest sports betting operators around the globe. Can it achieve similar success in the U.S.? bet365 believes in their platform and their app, but so do the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings. The upcoming launch of sports betting in North Carolina will be one of the most interesting state launches in some time as it will be ultra-competitive. bet365 will want to make a splash, but will not only have the big boys such as DK and FD contending for the same users, but ESPN BET, Fanatics and even the new Underdog Sportsbook are going to be in the mix. Industry analysts will indeed have their popcorn ready as March 2024 arrives.

Fanatics picked up during football season

With its slow roll out earlier in the year, Fanatics didn’t eclipse $10 million in gross receipts until September. Fanatics wavered in the 2-4% range in terms of percentage of total gross receipts during football season. Respectable, but not a place that Fanatics will likely be satisfied with long-term. Since the sportsbook is still very new, it’s hard to read too much into these results. Undoubtedly, Fanatics will be seeking improvement during the 2024 football season.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not an online gambling operator or gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

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