Three months into Ohio sports betting and online sports betting is certainly king in the Buckeye State. But, for a smaller subset of niche retail sports betting providers, the progress made since the Jan. 1 launch has been very encouraging.

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The Ohio Lottery and several Type-C sports betting proprietors shared their thoughts with Saturday Down South on the performance of the Buckeye State’s sports betting kiosk program through the first three months of sports betting.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has approved 1,153 Type-C hosts for sports betting kiosks so far. The host entities, which are mostly bars, supermarkets, bowling alleys, and restaurants, are eligible to operate kiosks at their establishments. Customers are only allowed to bet $700 a week at a kiosk and the machines do not offer the state’s full betting catalogue for users.

Ohio sports betting kiosks rolling out smoothly

Ohio’s rollout of sports betting kiosks has been smooth, according to the Ohio Lottery and two proprietors we spoke with for this story.

Five total proprietors received licenses to distribute sports betting kiosks to retail business Type-C license holders. According to the Ohio Lottery, there are currently 940 live sports betting kiosk host locations throughout the Buckeye State.

The Lottery has so far been satisfied with the early results of the kiosks.

“We are pleased with the launch of sports gaming at over 930 locations throughout the State. We have successfully integrated five different proprietors into the program and look to continue to grow in the coming months,” Ohio Lottery representative Danielle Frizzi-Babb told Saturday Down South.

Sports betting competition fierce in Ohio

Since the Jan. 1 launch, sports betting kiosks have reported $3,207,868 in total bets through March, notched $271,198 in revenue for proprietors, and $75,473 in taxes for the state.

While the reported numbers are miniscule in comparison to Ohio’s retail and online sports betting totals, the kiosk proprietors have seen the potential for their machines and eagerly await what will come from a mature market.

The competition from Type-A online sports betting operators has been fierce, a representative from Sports Bet Ohio told Saturday Down South.

“Sports betting in Ohio is a very competitive market with Type-A proprietors having very aggressively sought initial market share in the first months of operation. Obviously, we and the (Ohio) Lottery have a different model in seeking market share through the retail network, looking at the entire picture and the full spectrum of our offering with a longer view, and a gradual ramp-up in the retail market,” the representative said.

Sports Bet Ohio currently has 753 live sports betting kiosk host locations and reported nearly $1.86 million in total handle and $121,476 in revenue since Jan. 1. It’s the largest of the five licensed sports betting kiosk proprietors in Ohio.

“Our goal is to continue to expand our footprint in Ohio, further enhance our user experience for the retail punter, promote in-venue play and specialized local betting options with our Sports Bet Ohio native mobile companion app, Ohio Lottery’s over the counter terminals and Kiosks. We are focused on the future of Sports Bet Ohio and are dedicated to making our product and our host partners a sought after betting destination for Ohio players,” the representative said.

Realistic expectations for kiosks

Andrew Westmeyer, CEO of UBetOhio, told Saturday Down South he expects April to be slower than the first three months of operations for his locations. Performance of the kiosks has been “about what we’ve expected so far” in terms of revenue and handle, Westmeyer said.

“Kiosks allow non-casinos and retail businesses the ability to have a slice of the sports betting pie. Look, we’re not making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of this, but it’s giving us the ability to make your local watering hole into a Las Vegas style sportsbook,” he told Saturday Down South.

UBetOhio has reported $694,054 in total handle and $61,277 in revenue. The Ohio Lottery has taken in $6,809 in tax revenue from the proprietor.

UBetOhio currently has 38 active host locations, the majority being bars and restaurants, Westmeyer said, but bowling alleys have also been a popular host location. Westmeyer said he hopes the proprietor has upwards of 100 host locations by the start of the football season.

Local mom and pop locations and individual owned businesses have been top-host performers for UBetOhio, Westmeyer said, usually reporting better results than nationwide chain locations with kiosks.

“Some of the larger known chains that we thought may be great locations, some of them have been a lot slower than expected. Whereas, the smaller mom and pop bars, local watering holes that are just small, community placed, those have been going much better than we expected,” he said.

Kiosk market to slow in summer

Westmeyer noted that Ohio’s sports betting start date of Jan. 1, 2023, was not the best launch time for sports betting. Proprietors were able to take advantage of the end of the college football season and the entirety of the NFL playoffs, but missed the vast majority of both football seasons.

Summer will be slow after the conclusion of the NBA season, Westmeyer said, but a better picture of the sports betting kiosks’ potential will come around in September when both college and NFL begins again.

“Once we get to September, I think all of the Class-C license holders will hit their stride,” he said.