Sports Betting Ohio

For the longest time, gambling was illegal in Ohio. The reason for the illegality – the state’s extremely conservative laws. It would, however, appear that even the most conservative persons have to change their minds and hearts when the rest of the world is shifting, as is seen with the state of Ohio.

Casinos are now legal as are daily fantasy sports. Sports betting is on the way to legalization following the actions of the Ohio reformist legislature even as the laws that govern sports betting changing around the world.

One of the biggest motivators for the state’s change of heart has got to be the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling. The ruling made all forms of sports betting activities legal in the US by reversing the PASPA ruling which determined that sports betting was illegal throughout the United States, save for the state of Nevada.

It, therefore, doesn’t come as a surprise to see Ohio setting in motion legal frameworks to permit sports betting within the state lines.

Are sports betting legal in Ohio?

Since 2012, the Buckeye State has 11 casinos but is currently exploring its options on matters regarding to sports betting. Several grassroots groups and lawmaker intend to facilitate the crafting of the legislation to legalize sports betting.

At the moment, a bill introduced two state senators is now in play with Open Ohio expected to include sports betting in the November 2019 ballot. It would also appear that the Ohio legislators are no longer worried about making sports betting legal, but they worry more about the running of the sports betting activities. It’s now more about the systems than it is about ticking off the legal checkbox.

As discussions on sports betting fill the air, there also are endless questions on when or even whether sports betting will be legal in Ohio or not.

Currently, the online gambling activities permitted in Ohio include fantasy sports, horseracing betting, as well as games of skill.

So, to answer the question above – the answer is No. According to the current laws on sports betting, the laws prohibit sports betting, and the interested participant cannot place bets on the major sports.

Why then do you know Ohio residents who bet on sports online, you ask? Well, in as much as the state is against online and in-person sports betting, several foreign websites are headquartered overseas. These sites offer online sports betting services, but we highly recommend against their use because they are unregulated. These sites could easily disappear with your money. To be on the safe side, you should be a bit more patient and wait for the legislators to pass the necessary laws on sports betting.

In-Person and Online Sports Betting Ohio Legislation

While the path to the legalization of online sports betting in the Buckeye state remains long, there is movement in the right direction.

In 2018 July, two senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien sponsored a motion on sports betting showing their intention to pass legislation that would not only legalize but also regulate sports betting. They did this through the Senate Bill 316. Unfortunately, there isn’t much happening around and about the legislation. Their bill is seen as more of a conversation starter. And as stated by Senator O’Brien, they left the bill as vague as they possibly could just to show the people of Ohio of their intention to work harder on comprehensive legislation. The move also allows the Ohio residents to chime in. The senator does, however, believe that the legislation passed should make sports betting legal in all the 11 existing casinos.

Other than the senators, the organization Open Ohio is crafting an amendment to the constitution. The amendment is aimed at the legalization of sports betting. Open Ohio, will, however, be required to bring their motion to a vote to the public through a referendum. Should Open Ohio succeed, they will see sports betting run, managed, and regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission. Also, if their legislation passes, sports betting will be available in fraternal clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Since there is not positive feedback on these actions by the senators and the Open Ohio group, no one can quite predict the future of in-person sports betting, leave alone online sports betting Ohio.

Despite the illegal state and unavailability of online sports betting in the Buckeye state, the online laws on gambling have only made other forms of gambling legal.

In recent news, Mike DeWine Governor-elect from the Republican party noted confidently that sports betting would be coming to Ohio, no matter what! He added that the only thing that had to be done after the introduction of sports betting was to ensure that the betting activities are well-regulated.

We will keep you updated on the legislation put forth by lawmakers. And at a time when online sports betting is finally legal, we’ll update you. We will also update you with details of sportsbooks you can deal with when the changes we anticipate are effectuated.


Online Daily Fantasy Sports Betting

Ohio joined the long list of states that had legalized online fantasy sports betting in 2017 December when the House Bill 132 by Governor John Kasich was signed into law. The House Bill was also influential in the design of several measures for customer protection. The customer protection measures were designed to protect the funds of customers while ensuring the fairness of games and even providing resources necessary to address the problems associated with gambling.

The regulations set include:

  • The regulation of the age of the players to above 18 years
  • Separation of participants’ funds from the operational funds
  • Prohibition of athletes and officials from participating in the event
  • The establishment of voluntary self-exclusion programs.

The online fantasy sports sites also require licensing to run officially. The license costs $10,000 annually. On the bright side, the companies offering fantasy sports betting activities do not pay any additional taxes or levies. By charging a reasonable licensing fee and not imposing special taxes on the DFS operators, Ohio becomes one of the most attractive markets for investors and even players.

Keep in mind that before this law was enacted, into law, there were many DFS sites but they all operated in a rather uncertain climate with the laws existing at the time outlawing online gambling activities. Even with the legal uncertainties, DFS operators were active thanks to the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) enacted in 2006. UIGEA laws did not recognize DFS as a form of gambling, leaving states to decide whether they wished to legalize DFS or not.

When to bet on DFS online

After the enactment of House Bill 132, DFS gained deeper roots becoming available online. Today, interested DFS participants can play online from FanDuel and DraftKings betting sites.

Inner Workings of DFS

Unlike traditional sports betting, there are no win or loss situations or even the need to cover the point-spread plays in DFS. Under DFS, you are part of a league where you are allocated a salary cap. The salary cap allows you to ‘buy’ players who will be in your team. Your team players are then priced depending on their transfer market value which is based on their current form and performance among other factors. You then get to draft who you want on your team. Often, the winning teams will feature your consistent team players.

So, as the week’s game plays out, the real-life counterparts of your team will collect statistics in real-world matches and your DFS team also collects points. The person who wins the league is the one whose team amasses the highest number of points.

Horseracing Sports Betting

You cannot bet on the NFL, yet. But if you’re interested in horse racing and betting on those races, then Ohio is the place to be. You can bet online or in-person at the race tracks.

Online, all the wagering sites for horse racing accept wagers from all Ohio residents. The Ohio State Racing Commission regulates all pari-mutuel and horse racing wagers to ensure fairness and customer protection.

Besides horse racing, the racetracks have video-lottery terminals or VLTs following a law that was passed in 2011. This is Chapter 3770 of the Ohio State Code. So, when visiting the tracks, you will also be able to try your luck with the lottery or watch the live races. These VLTs are licensed, managed, and regulated by the Ohio Lottery with profits from the machines split 50/50 between the Ohio Lottery and the Lottery.

The racetracks include Mahoning Valley, Miami Valley, Scioto Downs, Thistledown Racino, Hard Rock Rocksino, Belterra Park, and the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. You can either bet online or in-person.

Leading online horse racing betting sites include TVG, Twinspires, and BetAmerica.

ESports in Ohio

State legislators are, in the next coming months expected to reform/ adopt legal sports betting options to legalize eSports. ESports represent organized tournaments with players challenging themselves in sophisticated Multiplayer video games.

Even though eSports are not entirely new, having been around for as long as the multiplayer video games have been, the current technological wave and increase in the number of international sportsbooks has led to a surge in eSports.

The favorite eSports include Call of Duty, FIFA, and StarCraft, the first-person shooters and league of legends which is classified as MOBA/ multiplayer online battle arena.

Games of Skill

You can play games of skill online in Ohio. There is a wide variety of games ranging from Bejeweled to Scrabble among others. The games are fun but mostly played for rather low stakes. is one of the sites you could visit to play legally.

History of Betting in Ohio

As mentioned above, Ohio is one of the most conservative states in the country. It wouldn’t be the first state that crosses your mind when it comes to sports betting. So, before 2009, all the forms of gambling known today were illegal in the state. It wasn’t until November 2009 that the Ohio residents voted to permit four casinos, one in every major city (Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo). In 2012 May, this became a reality with the Jack Cleveland Casino becoming the first casino to open its doors in Ohio. The three other casinos followed suit before the end of 2012. Since then, the Buckeye state boasts 11 fully-operational casinos – four land-based casinos and 7 racetrack casinos (racinos). The gambling scene is thriving, growing fast into an almost billion-dollar/year industry.

With the set online gambling infrastructure, as well as the fact that Ohio borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and even New Jersey, the legalization of online sports betting would be in great taste.

Land-based Casinos in Ohio

There are 11 casinos in Ohio, but seven of the are racinos. The four represent the commercial casinos which are established as resorts. Most of these casinos take pride in their large slots halls with over 20,000 slot machines at the casinos. The casinos also offer at least 300 table games. Minimum acceptable bets in the casinos stand at a low of $0.01 going up to $500.

Online Casinos, Online Poker, and Lottery

Online poker is a legal activity under federal law. However, states get to decide whether or not they want online poker legalized in their states. Ohio is one of the states yet to legalize online poker.

The same applies to online casinos. Despite having four active land-based casinos, there aren’t any legal online casinos in the Buckeye state.

It’s worth mentioning that the casinos in Ohio pay a 6 percent gambling tax and higher federal taxes could be applied to the bigger wins.

When Ohio finally passes a law legalizing online poker and online casinos, we’ll update you.

Ohio Lottery is not available online either.

Gambling in Ohio – Benefits

  • The casinos and the Racinos generate at least half a billion dollars gaming tax in Ohio annually.
  • The sites support about 20,000 jobs which have a huge economic impact of $3.6 billion. The industry also provides about $804million in the form of wages
  • Gambling supports programs for road safety, school children, public/ fire safety programs, and the radio systems used by the first responders.

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