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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In May, $430 million was bet online on sports in Ohio, which is more than double what Youngstown city government spends in an entire year. How is sports betting going in Ohio? What has gone well and what has not? WKBN’s 27 Investigates discusses sports betting after six months.
Canterino’s Sports Bar and Grill in Girard has two sports betting kiosks.
“They’re OK. They’re not where we expected. We thought they were going to do tremendous but they’re kind of slow,” said owner Tony Canterino.
Canterino says people are using their phones to bet, not his kiosks.
“That’s what the issue with it is now. Guys will sit at the bar and they’ll bet on their phone instead of using the kiosks,” he said.
At Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming, the first six months of sports betting have gone very well, according to Director of Marketing Kevin Brogan.
Still, taxable revenue at Hollywood Gaming started at $1.2 million in January, dropped, then rose again in March before falling to $474,000 in May.
“The summer historically is one of the slower parts of the year, but right around the corner, college football, NFL football, we’re excited for that to come back,” Brogan said.
Brogan says there are two trends he has noticed.
“You know, one of the things that we’ve seen is a lot of our guests like to bet with the self-bet machines and beyond that, they like to bet in game,” he said.
“With the legalization of sports betting, that means more and more people are gambling, which means more and more people can develop problems,” said gambling addiction counselor Stephanie Geer with Youngstown’s Meridian HealthCare.
Since the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, something happened that Geer had never noticed before.
“What we have noticed so far in 2023, of the new individuals that have sought services for gambling addiction treatment, about 30% of them are primarily seeking help for a sports betting addiction,” she said.
“We have a statewide campaign, Pause Before You Play,” said Derek Longmeier, who runs the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio. “In the first month of legalized sports betting, there were almost 1,500 calls to the helpline, and that was triple what it was in January of 2022.”
“When football comes, they should do very well,” Canterino said.
Canterino is committed to the sports betting kiosks for one year. Will he renew?
“I don’t know. I’m up or down with it because I’m hoping that football’s going to bring them back to life,” he said.
Statistics from the Ohio Casino Control Commission show that, of all the sports bets placed in May, 98% were done online. For every dollar bet in a sportsbook, $29 dollars was bet online.
As of July 1, as was passed in the most recent budget bill, the tax rate on sports betting revenue is going up from 10% to 20%.
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