Getting to Know Ohio and Its Gambling History
Is any type of online gambling legal in Ohio?
- Online poker: It’s complicated.
- Online casino games: It’s complicated.
- Online sports betting: It’s complicated.
Ohio law does not refer to online gambling or betting in its state code.
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of America and bordering Lake Erie. It is surrounded on land by Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
- Abbreviation: OH
- State Motto: With God, all things are possible.
- Capital City: Columbus
- Population Estimate: 11.6 million (7th)
- Website: http://www.ohio.gov/
There is quite a bit of gambling in Ohio, which started decades ago with pari-mutuel wagering at horse racing tracks, charitable gambling like bingo, and the lottery that was approved by voters in 1973.
The voters were again put to the gambling test in 2009 with a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow Ohio to join the world of casinos. The Casino Control Act passed and allowed one full-blown casino in each of four major cities – Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. The first casino/resort opened in 2012, and the others followed. And to remain in competition, racetracks were allowed to become racinos with the installation of video lottery terminals, and there are now more than a half-dozen of them around the state.
Ohio then had the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which came out of the 2009 law to allow casinos, to regulate those establishments, just as the Ohio Lottery Commission took care of lottery needs.
The Ohio Revised Code focuses heavily on gambling offenses and possible penalties, as well as the basic rules to govern casinos. There is also a section that defines terms like gambling, gaming contracts, and various types of games.
Games of chance are also addressed in the law, and the two pertinent definitions are as follows:
“Game of chance means poker, craps, roulette, or other game in which a player gives anything of value in the hope of gain, the outcome of which is determined largely by chance, but does not include bingo.”
“Game of chance conducted for profit means any game of chance designed to produce income for the person who conducts or operates the game of chance, but does not include bingo.”
Most Recent Developments
There has not been much action in Ohio with regard to online gambling, with no bills introduced or debated pertaining to the legalization of online poker or casino games.
When Black Friday occurred in the United States in April 2011, executives of several well-known online poker companies were indicted by the US government on gambling-related charges. The largest poker sites in the world were torn from the American market, and the ensuing news about the events discussed the legality of online poker at great length. Many who followed from a distance saw that the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was the premise for many of the indictments.
This seemed to spark fear in some Ohio lawmakers, as they began to view internet cafes with concern. By 2013, they decided to act on the shops that enabled people to play video games and potentially gamble. Lawmakers also wanted to keep players from those cafes in the hopes that they would veer toward the legalized casinos instead. Due to fears of what could happen in cafes and concern about possible lost revenue, there was a movement to shut down the shops.
Since then, even with the 2017 legalization of online gambling in neighboring Pennsylvania, Ohio lawmakers seem uninterested in joining the industry.
However, daily fantasy sports (DFS) was an option, and the legislature passed a bill to legalize those games in 2017.
There is also legislation pending that would legalize sports betting, though that seems to be on hold as America awaits the outcome of the US Supreme Court case. If the justices rule in favor of New Jersey, it will set a precedent for every state to officially legalize sports betting. Ohio seems ready to do that.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: There are many of our sites that cater to online gamblers and bettors in Ohio.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: Ohio is not likely to spend state resources to try to prosecute the operators of gambling sites located and licensed outside of the United States. The cost may be prohibitive, but even requesting that internet service providers block the sites would be labor intensive and possibly lead to lawsuits.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: The most that would likely happen is that some sites would be forced to leave the state of Ohio and not offer games to those players. But anything in the way of prosecution of players is very unlikely, considering there are thousands of them in the state.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: The sites we recommend are licensed in jurisdictions that task their sites with taking care of players. This means that sites keep player funds separated from operating funds, so if anything does happen to a site, players can receive the monies they are owed from their accounts.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: There are many ways to deposit money to an online gaming or betting account, including debit and credit cards, bank transfers and/or wires, and some even offer ewallets. Deposits are a bit more restricted, and players usually choose checks by courier, which are delivered within one to two weeks of the withdrawal requests. Some sites, however, have heard player wishes and now offer cryptocurrency options in the form of bitcoin, which can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. Check with your favorite site to see what they offer, and feel free to contact a customer service representative with any questions or concerns.