Ohio Gambling News

Latest on sports betting, online gambling and lottery in Ohio

Ohioans are no strangers to casinos — there are four full-service locations and seven racinos in the Buckeye State. With online gambling expansion happening all over the place, Ohio residents are probably wondering when it’s going to be their turn.

PlayOhio is your premier source for information and news updates regarding the movement of legal gambling in the state.

Right now, Ohio legislators are focused on bringing sports betting to life in the state. It’s unlikely that anything will move on other types of gambling like online casinos until the issue is resolved. We will continue to monitor Ohio gambling laws and the shift to legal sports betting.

Is online gambling legal in Ohio?

Yes and no. There are some types of gambling that are available online in Ohio. The most notable types of online gambling that you can find in the Buckeye State are horse betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS). If online gambling means online casinos, poker, and sports betting to you, then you’re out of luck. None of those three types of games are available to Ohio residents at this time.

When will Ohio legalize online gambling?

We’re not exactly sure. Nothing is set in stone yet. However, there are signs of change occurring in the Ohio Legislature. Specifically, there are two separate bills active and under consideration that would make sports betting a reality for Ohioans. At this point, the Ohio Legislature has adjourned for the summer, but the hope is that passage can come in fall 2021. With any luck, online sports betting will begin in the Buckeye State sometime in 2022.

Ohio lawmakers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure from all the states around them. With the exception of Kentucky, every state bordering Ohio has legalized massive online gambling initiatives in the past few years. Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have each legalized online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting. There’s no question that Ohio dollars are crossing state lines to be spent through mobile devices in these areas, and lawmakers hate to see in-state dollars used elsewhere.

With that said, there is a dearth of movement on online casino bills or poker right now. Sports betting bears the potential of being a sort of litmus test for the regulation and management of online gambling in Ohio, but there are no proposals on file nor news of any online casino bills forthcoming right now. We’ll cross our fingers and let you know if something changes.

Ohio gambling law

Ohio’s appearance in the gambling landscape only occurred a few years ago. Prior to 2009, most types of straightforward gambling were illegal in the Buckeye State. However, everything changed with the Ohio Casino Approval and Tax Distribution, Amendment 3, a ballot initiative to place one casino in each of Ohio’s four largest cities. The first casino opened in 2012. Coincidentally, the Ohio Legislature chose to allow the placement of slot machine-like video lottery terminals at seven racetracks in the state. Thus, in addition to some of the other types of gambling available to Ohioans, there are 11 true gambling locations in the state now. Here’s a rundown of everything you can find or will find soon in Ohio.

Ohio Gambling Options

Online Sports Betting

Ohio lawmakers continue to shuffle their way toward online sportsbooks in the state. They’re not there yet, though, and Ohio residents should not count on sports betting apps on their devices until at least 2022. At present, there are two separate legal attempts to bring sports betting to life in the state working their way through the two chambers of the Ohio Legislature. Unfortunately, neither effort moved forward before the gavel came down on the session, and it will be September 2021 (at least) before there will be more motion on sports betting in Ohio.

Online Casinos

There are no legal real money online casinos in Ohio. All legislative attention is focused on sports betting, and until Ohioans can bet the Bengals, the Browns, the Cavs, the Reds, and the Blue Jackets, it’s unlikely that playing Divine Fortune, Starburst, blackjack, or roulette on your phone will become an option. In the meantime, legal alternative options include sweepstakes and social casinos like Chumba Casino, Luckyland Slots, and Funzpoints. So, if you want to play slots, table games, or keno online, give one of them a try.

Online Poker

It is quite rare that a state would consider online poker before online casinos. Ohio is no different in this regard. There are no online poker proposals under consideration in the Ohio Legislature, and until an online casino bill shows up (whenever that is), there probably won’t be one, either. However, Global Poker is an excellent alternative for online poker play while you wait for the big boys like PokerStars and WSOP to get the green light in Ohio.

OH Lottery

The Ohio Lottery is a well-developed state lottery system. It has scratchers, both in-state and multistate draw games, and instant win games available for purchase. There are also keno options that you can purchase, both as standard keno offerings and as instant win variants on Ohio Lottery terminals around the state. Lawmakers have been attempting to add an online lottery option for years, and the issue has gotten close to fruition at least twice. It even got attached as an amendment to a past sports betting bill. For now, Ohioans have to find licensed retailers in the state if they want to take part in the lottery.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Ohio is one of a group of states that has passed a law to allow daily fantasy sports contests, or DFS, inside its borders. In fact, Gov. John Kasich signed the law all the way back in December 2017. So, the big boys like DraftKings and FanDuel are happily active inside the Buckeye State to be played as much as you like. The DraftKings Fantasy Millionaire contests as well as special events like March Madness and the World Cup are available in Ohio.

Casinos & Gambling

There are 11 casino locations in Ohio. Ohio’s four largest cities — Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo — each have a single full-service casino inside their city limits. Each property offers slots, table games, and live poker for both Ohio residents and tourists to enjoy. The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati and JACK Casino Cleveland are two of the commercial casinos in the state. In addition to these four venues, Ohio is also home to seven racinos. These facilities are racetracks that offer live racing, simulcast wagering, and video lottery terminals.

Ohio FAQ

Who oversees gambling in Ohio?

The Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Ohio Lottery Commission, and the Ohio Racing Commission. The OCCC, obviously, regulates the operations at the four casinos in the state. The racing commission watches over the live and simulcast racing at the seven racetracks. However, the VLTs onsite at the racetracks are managed by the Ohio Lottery, since they are (technically) lottery games. So, although there is plenty of overlap, it’s not hard to figure out who is in charge of each type of gambling in Ohio.

What is the legal gambling age in Ohio?

18 for the racinos, 21 for the casinos. Unless something changes, sports betting will require players to be 21 years old. The bills under consideration by the Ohio Legislature both mandate that vendors verify bettors to be 21.

Do I have to pay taxes on my gambling winnings in Ohio?

Yes. Gambling winnings, like other types of income, are subject to taxation from both Ohio and the US. In fact, Ohio casinos will automatically withhold 4% of your winnings for the state portion of taxes, although you may end up owing more or less in the end, due to the state’s graduated system. Unsurprisingly, the federal government wants its piece, and even has a form specifically for gambling winnings that you must fill out.

Can I bet on sports in Ohio?

Not yet. Ohio is currently considering a move to make both retail and online sports betting legal, but nothing is firm yet. Our best estimate is that legal sportsbooks will begin to appear in the Buckeye State in 2022, but that’s only a guess, and anything is possible right now.

What online casinos can I play in Ohio?

None. Online casinos are not legal in Ohio at this time, and it’s not clear when they will be permitted under state law. All legal sites are licensed by the state gaming commission, but there are no such sites available in Ohio. Your best legal options are alternative sites like sweepstakes and social casinos.

Can I play poker online in Ohio?

No. There are no legal online poker sites active in Ohio. As is the case with online casinos, your best place to play cards over the internet is through a sweepstakes site. The only real choice for this kind of site is Global Poker, which allows Ohioans to play against poker players across the country.

Resources

How to gamble online safely in Ohio

Ohio has no legal online gambling sites to its name. Legal and regulated sites like DraftKings Sportsbook or Golden Nugget Casino are simply not available under Ohio state law. Social and sweepstakes casinos are available and legal to play in the state. You can probably find numerous real money online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks available to players in Ohio. However, what you’re seeing are sites that come with risks.

These sites are based outside the US and do not have to conform to Ohio or US law. At best, you’re taking a leap of faith that these sites are legitimate businesses and not simply scams. At worst, you’re placing your personal and financial information at the mercy of an unknown company in a faraway place without any of the legal recourse you’d usually have. As frustrated as you might be with the lack of online gambling options in Ohio, it is simply not worth the risk that you’ll take if you patronize one of these sites.

If you want to gamble online legally and safely, your best bet is to visit one of the states bordering Ohio that are farther along in the process. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all have online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting. Indiana doesn’t have online casinos yet, but does have online sportsbooks. Otherwise, you can try sweepstakes and social casinos which are legal alternative options available to Ohioans.

Related Links About Ohio Online Gambling

Here are some quick links for you to get more information about online gambling in Ohio. There are also links to some of Ohio’s largest newspapers.

Responsible Gambling

Gambling is intended to be a source of fun and entertainment. But Ohio takes compulsive and problem gambling seriously.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Ohio Lottery offer free quizzes to help players educate themselves on gambling addiction. You can access the quizzes here and here. If you confirm that there is cause for concern through one of those resources, then you can pursue several different options in Ohio. First and foremost, you can head over to Ohio for Responsible Gambling. This initiative is a state-funded collaboration between four state agencies — the OCCC, the lottery, the racing commission, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. You can call 1-800-589-9966 or connect through your computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you are simply looking for information about problem gambling , you can also try the following sites:

You can also request a ban from casinos and racinos in Ohio using the state’s voluntary exclusion program. This program renders you a trespasser at any of those locations and subject to fines, forfeiture, and potential arrest if you keep coming back. The periods of time that you can place yourself in this program are either one year, five years, or permanently. Placement on the list is completely voluntary.