May 1, 2023 3 min read


Sports Betting Expenses Are a Strain for the Ohio Lottery

The lottery has to cover huge expenses for supporting its retail kiosks across the Buckeye State but the revenues are still suboptimal

Ohio is one of the latest states to legalize sports betting. It launched its legal wagering market in January, allowing local fans to fully immerse themselves in the world of professional sports. However, recent data shows that things might not be as rosy as the state had hoped, at least not for the Ohio Lottery Commission.

The Ohio Lottery Is Losing Money

According to recent data, simply supporting the sports betting industry is a huge strain on the Ohio Lottery Commission. The lottery has to cover huge expenses for supporting its retail kiosks across the Buckeye State but the revenues are still suboptimal.

According to recent figures, the Ohio Lottery has so far earned a modest $75,000 from the kiosks. However, the agency has to pay $54,200 a month just to operate and regulate the sports betting hubs across the state.

In addition to the monthly expenses, the lottery also pays around $650,000 to its kiosk staff each year. To make matters worse, the Ohio Lottery had to invest $335,000 simply to open the sportsbooks.

As it turns out, the sports betting revenues simply aren’t enough to help the lottery keep up with the expenses.

Sports Betting Not as Successful as Other Verticals

For comparison, the Ohio Lottery Commission’s slot business is much more developed. The flourishing racinos in Ohio pay a third of the revenue to the commission, helping it secure significant revenues.

For example, the last fiscal year saw recinos record $1.33 billion in revenues, allowing the lottery to keep $446 million. Compared to that, sports betting kiosks have a long way to go.

At the time of this writing, sports betting in Ohio isn’t yielding the revenues many experts and operators had hoped for. In January, the market opened with an impressive handle of $1.1 billion. However, in February the revenue plummeted to $639 million, showing a clear lack of sustained interest in sports wagers.

To make things even harder for the Ohio Lottery Commission, its director Pat McDonald recently left the company, citing health reasons. This announcement came as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced an independent investigation into supposed HR irregularities involving the ex-director. The results, it was said, could possibly have implications for the Ohio Lottery and its operations.

McDonald was a long-term Ohio Lottery employee, having worked as a member and chair for over 16 years. In his resignation, McDonald said that serving the lottery had been a great delight for him.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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