CLEVELAND — Between a Cleveland Browns win, a nail-biter with Ohio State, and the Cavaliers squeaking by the Chicago Bulls, it was a busy weekend for Northeast Ohio sports fans. A weekend made even more exciting as sports betting became legal in the state beginning on Sunday.
With only one day in the books, it's too soon to learn just how much of an impact legalized sports betting has made in Northeast Ohio. However, a spokesperson with Caesars Sportsbook said in that first six hours of betting, 25% of all bets made were on the Browns beating the Commanders.
The Browns, despite being a two-point underdog, defeated the Commanders 24-10.
At DraftKings, a spokesperson said these were the most popular events for betting so far in Ohio:
1. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football
2. Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Commanders (Browns won 24-10)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Steelers won 16-13).
Revenue numbers are not expected to be made available until the end of February, according to a spokesperson with the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
During a formal ceremony Monday, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse became the third sports facility with an onsite sportsbook, adding to Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and Chase Field in Arizona.
"You can watch it with your friends and enjoy the excitement of it and watch the odds change during the game, and it's hard to do that by yourself on your phone," David Grolman, SVP & vhief retail sportsbook officer at Caesars Sportsbook.
"It feels incredible, it’s been over a 3-year journey," added Nic Barlage, Cavs, Rock Entertainment Group and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO.
What was once a converted back office space inside Rocket Mortgage became Caesars Sportsbooks hub for the state, one of about a dozen retail sportsbooks open for business, in addition to another 16 online sportsbooks.
Early projections from PlayOhio show Ohio could quickly become one of the most popular states when it comes to sports betting with an estimated $8 billion dollars in sports bets placed in the first year.
98 percent of the tax revenue Ohio makes from sports betting will go to the Sports Gaming Profits Education Fund (SGPEF). The General Assembly will decide how to allocate the money to Ohio schools.
We are taking bets.— betJACK (@betJACK) January 1, 2023
Ohio, we are officially here. 😤 pic.twitter.com/cGR33tnFTy
The remaining 2% of tax revenue will go to the Problem Sports Gaming Fund to help problem gamblers.
Early estimates show the state could net anywhere around $50 million as part of its share of the revenue.
Money Cleveland Council President Blaine Griffin said would otherwise end up elsewhere.
"I used to hear people going to cities like Erie all the time," he said. "Now we get a chance to bring that kind of revenue, that kind of foot traffic, and that kind of energy here into the city of Cleveland."
On Jan. 1, 12 licensed retail sportsbooks and 16 online sportsbooks were officially open for business. Others have been approved by the Casino Control Commission and will launch throughout the year.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.