Ohio has a pretty interesting history with gambling.
Unlike many states in the U.S., Ohio isn’t home to any tribal nations. Since many of the country’s legal casinos are found on tribal lands, Ohio simply did not have any casinos until 2012. Since then, the state has been passing legislation to open more and more legal gaming opportunities.
Though online gambling is not yet legal in Ohio, it won’t be long until it is. The state House and Senate recently passed a bill, legalizing sports betting and online betting. The bill just needs the governor’s signature and these types of betting should be legal by the end of 2022 at the very latest.
Find out what types of gambling are legal in Ohio, where to place your bets, and which gambling platforms to avoid.
Yes, gambling at land-based casinos is legal in Ohio (as long as you’re gambling at one of Ohio’s legal casinos).
If you live in Ohio (or are just visiting) and are of legal betting age, you can legally place bets at one of the state’s many casinos.
It’s taken some time for Ohio to legalize this type of gambling. It was only 2012 when the Buckeye State legalized casinos within the state under certain circumstances. In the same year, Ohio legalized video lottery terminals at racetracks.
Gambling is also legal in Ohio at racetracks (similar to the gambling laws in many U.S. states).
In Ohio, you can legally place bets in casinos, at charitable events, by buying a lottery ticket, and many more, including:
To be of legal betting age in Ohio, you must be at least either 18 years old or 21 years old (depending on the type of gambling).
If you want to play daily fantasy sports, bet at pari-mutuel facilities, or buy a lottery ticket, you must be at least 18 years old in Ohio. If you want to bet at a casino or buy video lottery tickets, you must be at least 21 years old.
Once online gambling is legal, you’ll need to be 21 years old to legally place bets.
Gambling has been legal at casinos in Ohio since 2012.
There are currently four casinos where Ohioans can legally place bets. There’s a casino in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. Unlike in most other states, these casinos are not run by tribal nations because there are no tribal territories within Ohio’s borders.
Casinos are allowed to run different types of games, including slots, video slots, poker, and more.
It’s also legal to place bets at local racetracks, called racinos. These racetracks are located all over the state (mostly near major metropolitan areas). Ohio is also home to one off-track betting theater, Cedar Downs in Sandusky, OH.
Racinos may own and operate video lottery ticket machines but may not run other casino games, including table games. The off-track betting theater is not allowed to operate video lottery ticket machines.
Yes! For the most part, poker games are legal in Ohio (in a variety of locations).
In 2009, Ohio passed the Ohio Casino Approval and Tax Distribution Amendment, legalizing public poker games. With this act, the state also legalized casino betting at the four casinos within the state.
Since the Casino Control Act defines casino gaming as, “any type of slot machine or table game wagering, using money, casino credit, or any representative of value, authorized in any of the states of Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as of January 1, 2009,” this also legalized poker.
Obviously, casinos were allowed to run poker games in their establishments, but there are other ways Ohioans are allowed to play poker legally, too.
Residents are allowed to play poker at home. Though residents may not run organized poker games within their private residences, they are allowed to play and gamble at home.
How does the state define running organized poker games? If a person charges money to visitors to play poker, then that poker game would be considered illegal under Ohio law.
It’s important to note that home poker games must take place at home. Private citizens may not organize games at restaurants, bars, hotels, or other public places.
This means that you cannot run a poker game out of your hotel room, as doing so would be breaking the law. In the rare event that you’re visiting Ohio from another state, want to play poker, but don’t want to play at a casino, you’ll need to do so in the privacy of someone’s home.
Yet since there are plenty of casinos that offer legal poker games, it seems a little unlikely that you’d need to run your own poker game out of your hotel room anyway.
Not yet. Like many other states, Ohio has been overhauling its laws regarding sports betting and online gambling for the past few years.
It has taken longer than expected for the House and Senate to come to an agreement on a bill that includes both sports betting and online gambling in Ohio.
Until these bills are signed into law and the online platforms are established, the only way to legally bet online is by visiting an online horse betting platform (online horse betting has been legal for several years now) or playing at a free online casino.
One way to enjoy an online betting experience in Ohio before online gambling is legalized is to play at a free online casino.
These sites aren’t considered real money casinos, as you won’t bet real money on these platforms. Instead, you purchase virtual currency (gold coins or sweeps) or play with the free currency offered by these platforms through sweepstakes and welcome bonuses.
Even though you don’t play with real money doesn’t mean you can’t cash out your winnings in real money. Many free online casinos allow you to cash out your winnings in real money or gift cards to major retailers.
Free online casinos, such as Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots, usually offer slots-style games and poker games. Some offer horse racing games, too.
Chumba Casino specializes in slots and casino table games, such as blackjack and roulette. You’ll also find plenty of video poker games available on Chumba’s site.
Luckyland Slots, as the name suggests, specializes in slots games — so this is the site to favor if you’re just dying to play some slot machines but can’t make it to a land-based casino.
Another popular free online casino is Funzpoints, another site that specializes in online slots. Yet, this platform also offers some keno games, too.
Online horse betting is also legal in Ohio.
Daily fantasy sports have also been legal in Ohio since 2018. If you’re of legal age to buy lottery tickets (18 years and older), you can legally play daily fantasy sports in Ohio.
Currently, online sports betting platforms run daily fantasy sports in the state, including DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. These platforms are licensed in the state of Ohio and may legally accept daily fantasy sports bets from players of the legal gambling age.
No, not yet. Ohio is currently in the process of legalizing online betting.
Currently, the way the law is written in Ohio, online gambling is necessarily illegal — but it’s also not explicitly legal, either.
Before online betting is made legal, you’ll need to play at a free online casino If you want to take part in online casino games in Ohio.
All of the details regarding online casino regulation still need to be ironed out in Ohio. Yet, we can guess that the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) may have something to do with regulating online casino gaming within the state.
So far, it looks like the OCCC will probably regulate online gaming in the state, but the Ohio Lottery Commission may also have something to do with regulation. Another organization charged with regulating online gambling in Ohio is the Ohio Racing Commission that oversees pari-mutuel betting and racinos.
Since much of online gambling will be casino gaming, it makes sense that the OCCC would regulate much of this industry.
When it comes to online sports betting, it looks like the OCCC will also regulate sports gambling activity in Ohio, too — especially since many of the large casino brand names, such as Caesars, Wynn, and MGM will likely be on the list of major sportsbooks in the state.
Since Ohio is still in the process of legalizing online gambling, online slots at real money casinos are also not yet available for state residents.
If you want to play online slots, you can always head over to one of the free online casinos that are legally allowed to operate in every U.S. state (except for Washington State).
Since these sites are classified as free sweepstakes sites, Ohioans may legally play here. You also only need to be 18 years of age to play online slots at free online casinos.
Just because Ohio has more lenient laws regarding poker and you can play poker legally in your own home, doesn’t mean these laws are lenient when it comes to online poker.
Right now, online poker is not legal in Ohio. But that will all change as soon as online gambling is legalized within the state.
Again, you may play online poker at free online social casinos with virtual currency, but playing online poker for real money right now is not legal.
Once gambling at online casinos is legalized in Ohio, we expect that the current land-based casinos, including the Hard Rock Casino, Hollywood Casino, and JACK Cleveland Casino, will try to move into the online space.
We can also guess that the following casino powerhouses will probably try to partner with land-based casinos to launch online gambling in Ohio:
If you’ve found gambling sites that allow Ohioans to place bets online, they’re most likely offshore platforms.
These platforms aren’t licensed in the U.S. and are based internationally (often in Malta).
Though online gambling isn’t yet legal in Ohio, these sites operate in the gray areas of the law. They are neither legal nor illegal for Ohioans to place bets at.
If you’re craving some online gambling action and find yourself curious about offshore gambling sites, you may want to do so with caution. Since these sites are not located nor regulated in the U.S., they may fall outside of the law when it comes to the protection of users, too.
There are some of the risks involved with playing at offshore gambling sites. Worries may include that these platforms may not:
If you deposit money at one of these sites and don’t receive your winnings or can’t withdraw unused funds, you may not be able to take legal action against them. There’s also some worry that these sites may also sell, share, or exchange your private information (including social security number, banking info, etc.).
At the very least, there is always the risk that these sites aren’t secure, as U.S. laws regarding website security may not apply to them.
Once online gambling is legal in Ohio, the state will probably also require online gambling platforms to offer help to users that suffer from problem gambling.
States that have legalized online gambling have so far taken proactive precautions to help users in just this situation.
Online gambling platforms set gambling and deposit limits — and also allow you to add your own limits to prevent problem gambling. These platforms also offer services for anyone who believes their gambling habits may be gravitating toward problematic.
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