New poll suggests 16% of Ohio voters plan to place sports bets

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Roughly four out of 25 Ohio voters plan to place a sports wager, according to a poll released last week.

The poll found that nearly 16% of Ohio voters would place a bet through a legal sportsbook after sports betting goes live in the state on Jan. 1, 2023. The Emerson College poll surveyed 1,000 Ohio voters earlier this month.

A little more than 4% of respondents said they were most likely to bet online through a mobile sportsbook. Another 2.2% said they planned to place bets in-person at a casino or stadium.

Around 8.2% said they would wager through both online and retail sportsbooks. The remaining 84.1% of respondents said they didn’t plan to place any bets.

“The intention to bet legally is higher among male voters, 20% of men plan to bet in some capacity compared to 12% of women voters,” said Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, in a statement.

The Ohio poll mirrors a nationwide Pew Research Center Poll conducted over the past summer. The Pew poll found roughly 19% of Americans had placed some sort of bet in the previous 12 months, either with a legal sportsbook, friends or both

The Pew Poll further found roughly 8% of bettors had placed a sports bet at a brick-and-mortar casino, sportsbook or horse track. It found 6% of respondents had wagered with an online sportsbook.

Ohio next year will launch one of the most expansive retail and online sports betting markets in the country.

The Buckeye State will be the nation’s first to allow statewide mobile sportsbooks, retail books at both casinos and stadiums as well as at hundreds of betting kiosks. Ohio bars, restaurants and grocery stores are among the businesses that have begun the process of integrating retail sports betting kiosks.

Emerson College Polling Director Spencer Kimball: “The intention to bet legally is higher among male voters, 20% of men plan to bet in some capacity compared to 12% of women voters.”

Despite the proliferation of in-person options, the vast majority of Ohio sports betting dollars are expected to come online. More than two-dozen mobile operators have expressed interest in mobile licenses in the state, including virtually all major and established brands.

FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM, which combined have more than 80% of US sports betting market share by handle, are all expected to launch Jan. 1. Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook, Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers and Jack Entertainment’s betJACK are among the books with brick-and-mortar partnerships expected to launch both mobile and retail books in the state.

A host of up-and-coming brands including microbetting-focused Betr, Underdog Fantasy and Gamewise are also pursuing licensure. European gaming giant bet365 as well as BetFanatics, the sports betting arm of sporting goods retailer Fanatics, are also seeking Ohio market access.

Ohio is also set to have more in-stadium sportsbooks than any other state. The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, MLB’s Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are among the notable professional sports entities that are pursuing sportsbooks within or near their respective event venues.

Industry officials believe the high-profile professional sports team deals combined with Ohio’s large population and the proliferation of betting options are factors that could make Ohio one of the nation’s stronger regulated betting markets. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is set to award more licenses Wednesday and complete the regulatory process well before the scheduled Jan. 1 launch.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed his state’s sports betting legalization bill into law in December 2021. Ohio’s 13-month turnaround from bill signing to first online bet is one of the longest of the roughly two-dozen states with legal mobile wagering.

About the author

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Ryan Butler

Ryan is a veteran sports betting and iGaming regulation and breaking news journalist based in the US. A two-time Associated Press Sports Editors award winner, he has reported on sports and politics since 2012. He has covered the gaming industry since 2018. Ryan graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sport Management.

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