Is Online Gambling Legal in Ohio?
Currently, betting online is still not available in Ohio, however, as touched on briefly above, there is not specific law in the jurisdiction which makes it a federal offence to gamble online. However, this doesn’t mean that players from Ohio should flood internet gambling sites to try their luck online. What we mean about an online regulated betting market is that the betting operators will be allowed to apply for licenses to operate in a specific state, where they will be regulated by a governing body which protects players from any sort of malpractice. When players gamble online in an unregulated market, there will be no regulatory body overlooking operators, which means that the player is not protected in any way, although the risk of malpractice is pretty low.
Most casino games are legal to play in Ohio and players looking to try their luck can visit one of the 16 land-based casinos available in the state. Between them all, there are a total of 314 table games and over 19,000 slots available to play, with the lowest betting amount set at $0.01.
You’re guaranteed to find all the table classics, including blackjack, roulette and craps with enough tables to suit all budgets. The biggest casino in Ohio is the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, having a huge number of games that are guaranteed to leave players entertained for hours, with an abundance of slot machines, table games and a dedicated poker room.
All the poker rooms have a good selection of games, ranging from texas hold’em, omaha and cash games, but if you’re more of a tournament player, you’ll be delighted to discover that there are satellite tournaments where you can qualify for some of the most prestigious poker tournaments around the world, including the WSOP and the WPT.
Currently, sports betting is not available in Ohio, but there is hope. In the summer of 2018, five Ohio senators teamed up to "express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering." This essentially means that there is a movement and intention regulate the sports betting market, but the exact that is still unknown, although, with the way things are progressing, it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel for sports betting fans.
When sports betting will be introduced in Ohio, the chances are that wagers will be taken from land-based casinos, as is done in all the other states where sports betting is regulated. Online sports betting is still ahead of its time in Ohio and is still unavailable but players looking to wager online should do so with caution and at their own risk, as not all sportsbook operators have the same credibility as the more well established ones.
Back in 2017, a bill to legalize and regulate fantasy sports went through and at the time, Ohio became the 18th state to introduce fantasy sports. Fantasy sports is considered a game of skill and involves far more in-depth analysis than regular sports betting due to the fact that participants will need to manage a team on a budget, follow the sport religiously and know the sports statistics that could have a direct impact on their decision making process. For instance, fantasy sports players will need to know:
- Player forms and injuries
- Team forms at home and on the road
- Player transfers and rumours
- Team rivalries
- Past and future fixtures
- Historical data regarding, goals, points, etc.
If you’re in Ohio and looking to try your chances at some of the biggest lotteries in the United States, you’re in luck, as tickets to most lotteries can be purchased from licensed retailers. Unfortunately, authorised retailers are the only way to go due to online lotteries being unavailable.
However, there is a lottery app which allows players to scan their tickets to provide to retailers and skip paper slips, amongst other things, which means that operators have the tools in place for when online lotteries come into effect. Some of the lotteries available to play in Ohio include the state lottery itself, which is called the Ohio lottery, MegaMillions, Powerball, Lucky Life, Classic Lotto and Rolling Cash.
Different gambling products have different age requirements to be able to participate. Bingo, for instance, requires players to be at least 16 years old while casinos require players to be 21 years of age to be able to enjoy their games. Keno, which essentially works with the same mechanics as a lottery would, has a legal gambling age of 18 and should be adhere to at all times, as this is taken very seriously and is a criminal offence if violated.
Casinos in Ohio are regulated and controlled by the Casino Control Commission, where its sole purpose is to complete functions of licensing, regulating, investigating, and penalizing casinos who are engaged in illegal activities, such as fraud and money laundering. Having a regulating body is essential to protect the player from any malpractices that would leave players vulnerable and with a negative perception of gambling as a whole.
Gambling should be fun, but if you feel it’s anything but, there are helplines and support services that are available around the clock who are ready to assist. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, which can be reached on 1-800-662-HELP (4357) is a confidential helpline where problem gamblers can get in touch with the team in a safe and secure way who are very experienced in what they do.
If you, a friend or a loved one are showing signs that a gambling addiction might or has developed, help is just a phone call away. No one should deal with gambling addiction alone and there’s absolutely no shame in seeking help.
Ohio, as explained in the sections above, is not the most strict with its gambling laws and has a number of fully equipped land-based casinos where players can enjoy a number of slots and table games, including live poker. Even though online gambling remains unavailable, there have been lengthy discussions and debates for a change in legislature and with sports betting being the first gambling product tabled for change, it will only be a matter of time before senators will be pushing to take matters into the online sphere