Ohio’s Online Gambling Laws

Ohios Gambling LawsGambling in Ohio now offers a range of liberal betting regulations. Ohio was one of those states that for many years had very conservative gambling laws, but suddenly everything changed with the legalization of casinos. Fantasy Sports legalization laws have now been passed and even a sports betting legalization bill is under consideration by Ohio’s reformist State Legislature as U.S. sports betting laws change across the nation.

See table below for a snapshot of gambling laws in Ohio including betting on sports, gambling online etc.

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports (DFS) N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes No
Charitable-Gambling Yes No

Ohio Gambling Tax Rate

There is a 6% tax on gambling winnings in Ohio.

Federal taxes may apply to large wins.

Legal Gambling Age in Ohio

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 21
Horse-Racing 18
DFS 18
Lottery 18
Charitable-Gambling 18

Sports Betting Laws in Ohio

The doors were pushed ajar for the possibility of introducing Ohio Sports Betting in May 2018 when the landscape of the American sports betting scene altered in the blink of an eye.

That month, the U.S. Supreme Court of 2018 found against the generation-long Federal nationwide ban of sports betting as the state of New Jersey prevailed in their court case to show cause that the ban was illegal and against state’s rights. Every state (including Ohio) can now legally rule choose for themselves if they want to begin legal sports betting or not.

Is Sports Betting Legal in Ohio?

Whilst sports betting is not yet legal in Ohio, the snowball of change is gathering impetus and legal sports betting could arrive in Ohio within a matter of months, not years.

The Buckeye State’s legislators will consider after the November 2018 election the bi-partisan Senate Bill 316 to legalize sports betting. The bill itself is short on details other than introducing legal sports betting in Ohio. However, the bi-partisan support should assist in smoothing the process for the introduction of sports betting in Ohio.

Betting on the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Reds could be potentially be only a few months away. We will provide updates as they come to hand.

For now, sports bettors in Ohio have the option of playing legal DFS competitions for real money, or legal betting on horse-or-greyhound-betting to fulfil their sports betting needs.

Is Sports Betting Online Legal in Ohio?

The Buckeye State of Ohio does not currently offer online sports betting for either its visitors or residents.

Online gambling laws at the Federal level have made online betting legal, however, each state is required to pass legislation to regulate and license operators. Until now, Ohio has not yet passed any such legislation.

When Ohio finally passes online gambling laws of its own, we’ll update you with recommendations for the best online sportsbooks (and even the best online casinos for that matter).

Ohio’s state lawmakers have not yet drafted any legislation on the online sports betting or online casino topics. Consequently, until then, legal online sports betting options exist for Ohioans in real money DFS competitions and horse and greyhound racing betting.

Casinos in Ohio

There are currently 11 Ohio establishments comprising the state’s recently legalized (i.e. 2009) thriving casino industry. Four of the commercial casinos are resorts (one in each of the state’s four largest cities – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Columbus), while the other seven are Ohio ‘racinos’ located at the racetracks. Many boast huge slots halls (there are almost 20 000 slots machines at the state’s casinos) and a raft of table games (more than 300) are offered to the state’s casino players. Minimum bets are as low as $0.01 and up to mid-range maximum bet of $500.

Online Casinos in Ohio

Ohio’s superb land-based casino industry is a blessing for players in the Buckeye State, online gambling laws are practically non-existent. (Please see above section ‘Is Sports Betting Online Legal in Ohio’ for full details).

Online players in Ohio are advised to limit online gambling activities to LEGAL online gambling games (i.e. Currently – DFS, Games of Skill and Horse and Greyhound Racing). Online players in the State of Ohio should not be tempted into using U.S. based online casinos, or off-shore sites, until the State lawmakers in Ohio pass broad sweeping online gambling reforms.

Horse Racing Betting in Ohio

In the Buckeye State, the Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) administers races, animal welfare, the tracks themselves and the licensing of horse racing and horse racing betting.

Horse and Greyhound racing betting is available track side, online and a network of off-track betting locations supplies horse racing betting facilities.

Track Side: Horse racing betting is permitted in Ohio at any of the state’s seven horse racing tracks. A law passed by the State Legislature (Chapter 3770 of the Ohio State Code) in 2011 allowed tracks to install video lottery terminals (VLTs) which are quite similar to slot machines. When visiting any Ohio racetrack to watch live horse races, you can also try your luck at the VLTs. These expanded racetracks have come to be known as ‘racinos’.

Off-Track Betting (OTB) in Ohio

A network of designated OTB branches in Ohio is provided for those gamblers who prefer to bet off-track or can’t physically get to the track.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Ohio

In Ohio, it is possible to place horse racing wagers online without any fear of punishment under the state law.

Ohio’s visitors and residents are offered superb online odds on all major horse racing venues worldwide and thoroughbred racing venues in the U.S. directly from their tablets, phones, smartwatches, other mobile devices or home computers, all 100% legally.

Ohio’s Daily Fantasy Sports Law

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions have been legislated under Federal law that they are not gambling games and that they are actually defined as games of skill, based on the player’s skill being the primary factor in influencing the outcome.

In what is great news for DFS players in Ohio, the State Legislature passed HB 132 in December 2017 making DFS 100% legal for play in real money competitions in Ohio. The strange news coming out of the decision was that all forms of DFS, except fantasy Horse Racing was deemed legal in Ohio. The other main points decided were;

  • Minimum age of 18 to play.
  • Consumer protection measures are required put in place by operators.
  • Maximum licensing fee possible is $10,000 per year, and;
  • No additional state taxes charged to operators.

DFS Explained

If haven’t heard of DFS, you soon will. Even if you have heard of the fastest-growing of all online sports games, you may not be certain what it is. With almost 60 million playing DFS games in the United States, chances are that you too will be trying your hand at the game soon.

How does DFS work?

First point to realize is that traditional sports betting to win/lose or to cover a points-spread plays no part in DFS. In a DFS fantasy league, you are allocated with a salary cap which you utilize to ‘buy’ players for your DFS team. Every player in the league (Remembering with no Horse Racing DFS in Ohio – all the major sports leagues plus MMA, PGA Golf, NASCAR and college football and basketball are offered in DFS competitions) is priced determined on their transfer market value (based on performance, current form etc.).

If you wish to draft the best college running back, for example, you’re going to have to spend a very high percentage of your salary cap on that single star rusher. Rather than expensively priced superstars, winning DFS teams regularly feature a collection of consistent team players.

As the week’s games play out, your team’s real-life counterparts amass stats (Rushing yards, strikeouts, goals, points, birdies, completions, hits, TDs etc.) in their real-world matches and your DFS team collects points (e.g. 4 points for a TD, 10 points for pitching a perfect game etc.). The person whose team compiles the most points in each given time-frame, wins the DFS league.

Winners of the weekly, daily or season-long DFS competitions can possibly win up to $1 million for each of the DFS competitions. Usually NFL offers the largest prizes as more people are playing, however, play-offs in any sport can offer monster prize pools.

Poker Laws in Ohio

Live Poker can be played in Ohio at any one of the state’s 4 licensed commercial casinos and you’ll find more than 120 live poker tables available across all 4 venues. The following games are all available at Ohio’s casinos; Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha 8 or Better, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, Mixed Games and Razz.

Social or home poker games are allowed under Ohio’s gambling law (Ohio State Code 2915 (A) (2)) as long as no-one profits from conducting the games or hosting the games at their residences.

Online Poker Laws in Ohio

Online poker is now legal across the United States but only if each respective state passes legislation to regulate and license the operators. Ohio has not yet passed any such legislation, which means there are no legal options at this time in the Buckeye State. (See above sections ‘Is Sports Betting Online Legal in Ohio?’ and ‘Online Casinos in Ohio’ for further clarification of online gambling laws in the State).

Ohio eSports Betting

In the next few months as Ohio’s State Legislators reform and adopt legal sports betting options in the State, eSports stands at the forefront as one of the new generation sports betting options that is unsullied by an illegal sports betting past, as the Buckeye State goes through the uptake-period of legal sports betting.

‘eSports’ explained

eSports take place in organized tournaments, as players challenge each other’s skills in multiplayer video-games. A very 21st century activity, eSports have been around as long as multiplayer video games have. However, with the current unprecedented improvements in technology and online streaming services and the role of international sportsbooks for betting purposes, have seen eSports surging in prestige and crowd/viewership numbers.

Many games are played competitively on the eSports tournament calendar, however, the first-person shooters (FPS) like the Call of Duty franchise, real-time strategy games like Starcraft II, sports games like FIFA and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends and Dota 2 are all among the fan favorites. With every tournament, crowd numbers swell and the prizes get richer.

Sports bettors are never far away when there is big money to be made. Global bookmakers regularly frame betting markets on the major network of international eSports tournaments.

eSports should be available for your gambling pleasure within the next few months at your favorite and soon-to-be legal Ohio sportsbook.

Benefits of Gambling to Ohio

  • Ohio’s casinos and racinos generate more than a half a billion dollars in gaming tax revenues each year.
  • Ohio’s 11 casino sites support 20,000 jobs and generate $3.6 billion in economic impact.
  • Ohio gaming provides $804 million in wages annually in the service industries supporting the gambling sector.
  • Among some of the leading beneficiaries, gambling in Ohio supports and funds reading programs for pre-school children, road safety and improvement, radio systems for emergency responders, and public and fire safety programs.
  • 80% of gambling industry employees in Ohio report that working in the industry has provided them with an opportunity to start at the ground floor and work their way.

History of Gambling in Ohio

1933; Horse Racing Betting legalized in Ohio.

1973; Ohio State Lottery begins.

1975; Charitable Gambling kickstarted in Ohio.

2009; Ohio State Legislature legalizes casino gambling in Ohio following a referendum. 4 casinos are opened in each of Ohio’s largest cities.

2011; Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) made legal at Ohio’s racetracks under Chapter 3770 of the Ohio State Code transforming the tracks into ‘racinos’.

2017; Ohio Bill HB 132 passes as DFS becomes legal in the State.



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