Ohio Lottery sales are up this year, even though legalized sports betting has been a big hit across the region and state and hypothetically could compete for Ohio consumers’ discretionary dollars, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis.
Some gambling industry observers say sports betting and lottery games tend appeal to different demographics. They say not only can they co-exist — they can promote and benefit each other.
“Sports betting has attracted many new customers to the gambling market, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily takes from any existing market,” said Danny Cross, managing editor of PlayOhio, which covers the state gambling industry. “Lottery players who enjoy certain games are unlikely to abandon them just because they sign up for a sportsbook app or place a bet at a retail sportsbook once in a while.”
Traditional lottery sales across the state increased 10% to $1.07 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to same period last year, according to Ohio Lottery data.
In the first three months of this year, consumers in Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties purchased $152.2 million worth of traditional lottery tickets, which was up 8.4% from Q1 of 2022.
The Ohio Lottery increased sales even though gamblers made nearly $2.5 billion in sports bets across the state either online or at retail sportsbooks from January to March, according to data from the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
The vast majority of Ohio’s sports betting takes place online through apps people download.
Ohio also has nearly 1,000 bars, restaurants and other businesses that offer sports betting at kiosks that are licensed through the Ohio Lottery, said Cross.
Cross said sports betting at these kiosks likely draws attention to other lottery games consumers can play.
“Sports betting has generally proven to be a tide that lifts all boats,” Cross said. “That is to say, adding legal sports betting seems to lift up other forms of gambling like lottery and retail casinos.”
Cross also said public awareness about legal gambling options has increased because of advertising pushes related to sports betting.
Industry experts and observers say the introduction of sports betting in other states has not led to a reduction in lottery revenues.
New Jersey legalized sports betting in mid-2018, but its state lottery still had a record year over the next 12 months, according to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association.
Pennsylvania’s lottery also had a record-setting year in fiscal year 2019, even though sports gambling in the state became legal in November 2018.
Danielle Frizzi-Babb, deputy director of communications with the Ohio Lottery, said it’s too early to tell what impact sports betting will have on other kinds of gambling, but some lottery games have seen a decline in sales in March and April, such as Keno.
Vinny’s Bar & Grille, Carry-out, Lottery in Moraine has seen an increase in lottery sales this year, which led to the Ohio Lottery providing a bonus payment last month, said owner Vinny Nyhan, who believes his business is one of the top 10 lottery sellers in the Dayton area.
“I saw my numbers the other day, and I was like, ‘wow’ — my numbers are way up,” he said.
Lottery players and sports gamblers seem to be different segments of the consumer market, he said, similar to how some people like to gamble in casinos but won’t buy lottery products and vice versa.
Vinny’s Bar & Grille, located at 2229 Dryden Droad, has a lottery kiosk that offers sports betting, but Nyhan says it’s hardly been used for that purpose. He said consumers seem to prefer making sports bets on their mobile phone apps.
Jim Koehnen, assistant manger of the business who worked the register on Friday, said lottery players and sports bettors are “different groups of people.”
About three-fourths of adult Ohioans gamble — or more than 6.7 million residents, according to a 2019 report by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and Ohio for Responsible Gambling.
That estimate predates sports gambling becoming legal in the state.