If there were any doubts about the pent-up demand for Ohio sports betting, those doubts were quickly extinguished. When the smoke cleared after the first two days of action, it was obvious that sports betting in Ohio is going to be a smashing success.

The Official Launch

In November of last year, the Ohio Casino Control Commission designated January 1, 2023, as the official launch date for sports betting in the state. With as many as 75 sports betting licenses available for a combination of retail and online/mobile bookmakers, the slow march towards that launch date began.

It’s not surprising that a who’s who of U.S. sports betting operators were lined up with applications in hand to join the Ohio sports betting market. One by one, those licenses were approved. The list of sportsbooks ready to take sports bets on day one included BetMGM, DraftKings, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet.

That list will continue to grow in the coming months.

By the Numbers

To properly understand just how incredible the first two days of sports betting were in Ohio, let’s look at the numbers. After that, everything can be put in perspective.

Preliminary reports indicate that more than 11.3 million sports betting transactions were taken on the first two days. That comprised over 783,864 verified accounts. With a total population of 11.8 million, that adds up to almost one sports bet per resident. A remarkable start.

So what were Ohioans betting on? For one, fans flocked to the Ohio betting apps for the climax of the college bowl season. Oh, then there was the small matter of the NFL. This was the first week in NFL history that Ohioans were permitted to wager on NFL games from the comforts of home. And bet they did.

Then there was the much talked-about NFL Monday Night Game between the Buffalo Bills and the hometown Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately it was a game that went into the history books for all the wrong reasons as tragedy hit Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin. The game was suspended after he went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter. Thankfully signs are positive for his recovery.

The game was canceled and bets were refunded. You certainly couldn’t say the start of Ohio sports betting was uneventful.

Putting the Numbers in Perspective

While it’s not yet clear if Ohio’s launch exceeded New York’s 2021 launch in terms of handle and sports betting revenue, experts are guessing the number could be very close. What can be stated with confidence is Ohio far exceeded any numbers put up by its neighboring states.

One of the top sports betting states that border Ohio is Pennsylvania. In fact, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were the first two states to allow access to sports betting resources for their residents.

Ohio’s launch numbers crushed what Pennsylvania recorded in late 2018. In November of that year, PA sports betting operators took in 8.2 million transactions over 527,371 unique accounts. Even more impressive (for Ohio) is the fact PA’s population is over one million higher than Ohio’s.

What we know at this point is that Ohio sports bettors signed up and bet in droves. In the next couple of weeks, information will be released that shows how much handle was generated and how the handle translated into gross revenue.

Even before the numbers do come out, it’s pretty much a certainty that Ohio is destined to become one of the top three sports betting states in the nation. And there’s more to come. Many of the licensed sports betting kiosk operators have not even started taking wagers yet.

Ohio may have been slow to start, but it seems the wait was worth it for many.