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Ohio’s sports wagers continue to fall

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(The Center Square) – Ohio’s total sports betting handle fell for the third out of four months after a historic start in January.

According to figures released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the state’s total betting handle fell 14.2% from April to $430.7 million in May. April wagers were $505.6 million.

The May dip was smaller than the nearly 30% drop from March to April.

According to industry analysts, the dip wasn’t surprising, but more decreases could happen with few betting opportunities over the summer months.

“With a historic opening season behind it, the Ohio sports betting market will now have to endure the dreaded summer slump. With less sporting events on the calendar and thus less betting opportunities, monthly handle is set to decrease from now until August/September,” BetOhio’s Dru James said. “May’s 14.2% decrease in overall handle is an improvement from April’s near-30% drop, and for the duration of this season decline will continue at about that rate.”

Ohioans bet more than $1 billion in January when sports gaming became legal in the state, but that number fell to $621.1 million in February. It rebounded in March during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to $715.3 million.

Despite the fall in May, only mobile sports betting numbers were below April. Both retail and kiosk betting increased.

“While sports betting handle is likely to remain on a downward trend, revenue may not follow suit,” James said. “Due to more variable factors such as promotional payouts and gaming win, revenue may fluctuate less predictable from month to month during this slow season. Nevertheless, both numbers will spike in the fall when the sports calendar begins to fill again.”

Ohio’s new budget, recently signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, contains a gambling tax increase paid by sports betting operations from 10% to 20%.

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