Ohio Surges to Top of Legal US Sports Betting Markets After Debut Weekend

  • Ohio recorded more sports betting transactions over the weekend than any other state
  • Cincinnati’s unique transactions hit 1.9 million, the highest among all of Ohio’s cities
  • More licenses in 2023 will add to the dozen retail sportsbooks and 16 apps available to Ohioans
Downtown Cincinnati
Legal sports betting touched down in Ohio over the weekend with the state becoming the most bet-hungry in the US according to GeoComply. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Bet-hungry state

Like a dam bursting its banks, the long-awaited arrival of legal sports betting in Ohio over the weekend revealed the state’s bet-hungriness as it outdid the major markets of New York and Pennsylvania in transactions and logins.

11.3m geolocation transactions

According to GeoComply, Ohio recorded 11.3 million geolocation transactions from 12am on January 1 to 11:59pm on January 2. On Thursday, The Vancouver-based geolocation services firm shared an animation of Ohio’s betting activity via Twitter:

Ohio users made the 11.3 million transactions from over 783,000 unique accounts, eclipsing New York’s 9.3 million from 460,300 accounts. Pennsylvania was third on 8.2 million from 527,400 followed by New Jersey on 6.7 million from 423,400.

The early stats back up industry expectations that Ohioans will wager over $8bn in 2023, which would make it the US’s fourth-biggest market after New York, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Cincinnati betting city

With Ohio’s market launching on New Year’s Day, Monday night’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills at the former’s home, Paul Brown Stadium, gave Ohioan bettors their first taste of legally betting on an NFL game in their home state.

While the NFL game was suspended due to a horrific on-field emergency after the collapse of Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin, it didn’t stop Cincinnati topping the charts as the Ohio city with the most transactions over the weekend.

The suspension of the Bengals vs. Bills game left many bettors checking the fine print of their betting terms and conditions. Some sportsbooks refunded affected bets instantly, while others asked for patience with bets still live and subject to the NFL issuing a game replay date within the time permitted for the affected wagers to stand.

Cincinnati’s unique transactions hit 1.9 million, which was significantly higher than that of Columbus, which has a 65% larger population. The overall bettor transactions statewide of 11.3 million, however, take on a staggering perspective when considering the population of Ohio stands at just 11.8 million.

When New York’s sports betting market opened last January, the US’s most populous state recorded 17.9 million unique transactions, only 6 million more than Ohio’s debut score, despite having a population of 19.8 million.

Another big hitter at the plate

While three years of heated debate in Ohio’s General Assembly tried the nerves of bettors and tested the resolve of sports betting proponents, Ohio has finally stepped up to the plate and is hitting like the big boys.

Ohio bettors “enthusiastically greeted the market at the moment the calendar changed over to 2023”

GeoComply’s senior vice president of compliance Lindsay Slader welcomed the newcomers into the family of legal online sports betting states in the US. Slader said in a Tuesday press release her firm “expected” the massive response, adding that Ohio bettors “enthusiastically greeted the market at the moment the calendar changed over to 2023.” 

With a dozen retail sportsbooks open for business, 16 apps,, and more licenses to be dished out in 2023, sports betting has arrived in Ohio and is already living up to the hype.