DraftKings Emerges as Ohio Sports Betting Leader in May

In a notable development for the sports betting landscape in Ohio, DraftKings has managed to overthrow FanDuel as the premier platform for sports betting in the state for the month of May. The figures show a total handle of over $611.6 million, reflecting a significant 37.0% increase year-on-year for the month of May. This substantial growth is set against the backdrop of the Cleveland Cavaliers progressing to the NBA Conference Semifinals, ultimately losing to the Boston Celtics. Despite these promising figures, the handle was down 9.2% from the $673.2 million wagered in April.

Online betting continues to dominate the sports betting market in Ohio, with $595.2 million of the total handle being driven by online activities. On the other hand, retail sportsbooks across the state contributed $16.4 million. After payouts to customers, which amounted to $538.3 million, the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for May saw a 16.4% increase to $67.4 million. This translates to an overall market hold of 11.0%, with online betting contributing 98% of GGR.

One noteworthy regulation impacting Ohio’s sports betting sector is the restriction against deducting promotional spend until 2027. As per the state’s sports betting laws, operators will be allowed to deduct 10% of their promotional spend starting from 2027, with an increase to 20% beginning in 2032.

Despite the year-on-year growth, May’s revenue was 8.8% lower than the $73.9 million reported in April. From the total taxable revenue generated in May, $66.1 million came from online betting, and $1.2 million was attributed to retail sportsbooks. These results take Ohio’s year-to-date revenue for the first five months of the year to $386.2 million, including $378 million from online activities and $6.4 million from retail.

The shift in leadership within Ohio’s sports betting scene is primarily due to DraftKings surpassing FanDuel in terms of the amount wagered. FanDuel reported a handle of $199.8 million and generated $30.6 million in taxable revenue.

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. This is the first instance in 2024 where FanDuel did not lead both handle and revenue metrics.

Meanwhile, Bet365 maintained its robust performance by securing the third position with a handle of $45 million. BetMGM followed with $41.3 million, while Caesars and Penn’s ESPN Bet occupied the fifth and sixth places, respectively. Fanatics made a notable impact too, maintaining a 3% market share in the Ohio online betting space, despite being operational in the state for less than a year. ESPN Bet, which has faced some criticism for the lack of a comprehensive digital strategy from its parent company Penn Entertainment, managed to hold on to a 7% market share.

Shift focus now to Rhode Island where the sports betting revenue reported in May showed mixed results. While the $3.3 million revenue was down year-on-year, it was 22.2% higher than the $2.7 million recorded in April of this year. Breaking down the figures, the total revenue includes $2.8 million from online sports betting and $569,725 from retail sportsbooks. Retail operations at Twin River contributed $341,428 and Tiverton Casino added $228,297 to the total retail revenue.

Player spending in Rhode Island for May hit $37.3 million, a 21.8% increase compared to the $30.8 million reported in the same month last year and just slightly behind April’s total of $37.7 million. Specifically, players wagered $30.5 million online, while retail sportsbooks at Twin River ($5.0 million) and Tiverton Casino ($1.8 million) accounted for the rest. For the month, player winnings amounted to $33.9 million.

Looking at the year-to-date scenario in Rhode Island, total revenue for the 10 months leading to the end of May stood at $35.9 million. In terms of player spending, a cumulative total of $425.8 million was recorded, with player winnings reaching $389.9 million.

As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve, both Ohio and Rhode Island offer fascinating case studies on how digital and retail platforms perform under different regulatory and market conditions. The coming months will reveal if DraftKings can maintain its newfound lead in Ohio and how other platforms will adjust their strategies in this competitive and dynamic environment.