Roulette is a signature game in most casinos, including those in Ohio. And beyond the borders of the state, casino gamblers around the world have been betting on the spinning wheel and ball for centuries.
However, while you can play roulette in select casino locations, there is no legal online roulette for real money in the Buckeye State. Your closest option is a few social and sweepstakes casino-style sites that offer roulette. In some cases, you can even win cash prizes.
If you’ve got a hankering to put it all on black (or red), settle in and learn all about the roulette options in Ohio.
Is roulette legal in Ohio?
Yes. All four casino venues in Ohio have roulette options. However, the racinos in the state, which combine racetracks and some casino gambling, cannot offer table games, so you won’t find roulette at those locations.
Roulette became legal at these Ohio casinos thanks to a constitutional amendment in 2009. That’s when 53% of Ohio voters agreed to allow the placement of a single casino in each of Ohio’s four largest cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. The first casino opened in 2012, and there have been legal roulette in Ohio ever since.
Is online roulette legal in Ohio?
No, online roulette for real money is not legal in Ohio at this time. If you see information to the contrary, don’t believe it. Such “offshore” sites do not abide by Ohio gambling laws or regulations, making them risky to use and best to avoid.
However, you do have the option to play online roulette at social and sweepstakes casinos like Pulsz and Chumba Casino. In addition to roulette, these sites offer slots and other table games including blackjack and video poker. They use virtual currencies rather than real money, and in some cases offer the chance to redeem winnings for cash prizes.
How to play online roulette in Ohio
To get started, choose a site and complete the registration process. When it comes to social and sweepstakes casinos, you’ll be able to play for free if you wish with the virtual currencies that the sites regularly distribute at no cost. If you find yourself wanting more virtual currency, you’ll generally also have the option to purchase some. At sweepstakes-style casinos, there will also be the option to use a non-purchasable currency and redeem winnings for cash prizes.
Here are the roulette titles you can play at Pulsz and Chumba Casino:
- American Roulette 3D (Pulsz)
- American Roulette (Chumba)
- American Roulette x2 (Chumba)
The basics of roulette and the house edge
A roulette wheel is a large, rotating disc set inside a deep wooden bowl. Depending on the style of roulette, the wheel has either 37 or 38 numbered slots on it. When a new round begins, the croupier spins a small white ball the opposite direction around the lip of the bowl. Gravity slows the ball’s rotation and eventually causes it to drop onto the wheel and settle into one of the slots.
The essence of all roulette wagers involves betting on where the ball will land. Each slot has a different number and is painted black, red or green. Before each ball spin is complete, players wager upon a felt board with corresponding spaces for every slot on the wheel. There are also group bets that allow selections of certain colors or number groups. A correct wager on a single number pays out at 35-to-1.
Within that payout lies the house edge for roulette. Each wheel has slots numbered 1 to 36, regardless of the style of wheel. It also has either one or two slots for a single zero or a single zero and a double zero. Those slots are always green, and if the ball lands there, any wagers within the 1-36 grid lose. That means that even though your potential payout is 35-to-1, the true odds of hitting your number are actually 36-to-1 or 37-to-1.
The difference between the odds and the potential payout is actually quite significant. On a wheel with a single zero, which is standard for European roulette, the house edge is around 2.7%. A wheel with two zeroes, meanwhile, which is what American roulette uses, bears a house edge of 5.26% or nearly double that of its European counterpart.
Regardless of the type of wheel, the house edge remains fairly consistent for almost all of the bets you can make. Standard roulette games allow for bets on the following:
- Single numbers
- Split bets (two numbers)
- Corners (four numbers)
- Streets (three adjacent numbers in a row)
- Columns (12 of the numbers on the grid)
- Red or black
- Even or odd
- 1-12, 13-24, 25-36
- 1-18, 19-36
Even though some of the options — such as betting red or black, or even or odd — would seem to be 50-50 coin flips, don’t forget those green zeroes. A zero is neither red nor black, neither even nor odd, and is thus a losing result for those wagers. That means even though winning those bets pays “even money” (1-to-1), you are less than even money to win.
Incidentally, the betting options inside the grid are “inside bets,” while the other wagering options are “outside bets.”
Typical roulette variations
Like most games in a casino, roulette offers several different flavors. Not every type of roulette will be available at every single Ohio casino. However, as things can change without warning from location to location, it’s good to know what these variations mean for playing the game:
- American — American roulette is notable for its use of two zero slots on its wheel. There is a single zero (0) and a double zero (00), both green. The game’s return-to-player percentage is 94.74%.
- European — This form of roulette is more advantageous for the player, as its wheel only has a single zero. With only one green space, European roulette offers an RTP of 97.3%.
- French — French roulette is a rarer sight in Ohio, but it might show up from time to time. It is the most favorable variant for players, with an RTP of 98.65%. This advantage stems from the fact that French roulette uses a single-zero wheel and may employ two special rules. “En prison” freezes any even-money wager that loses for an additional spin, and players receive a full refund if they can win on the successive spin. “La partage” mandates that the player and house split a losing even-money wager 50-50, and players receive half their stake in return.
You might also find some more gimmicky variants here and there, with features like multiple balls, multiple wheels or additional zeroes on the wheel. There may also be some extra side bets you’ll find. The important thing to do with any of those elements is understand that these more unusual roulette games are unlikely to be good bets for you to play versus the more traditional options.
Ohio roulette locations
The only locations with legal roulette in Ohio are the casino properties in the state. As noted, you won’t find roulette at any of the state’s racinos, as they cannot legally offer table games. If you are a fan of roulette or want to give the game a try, head to one of these locations:
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati: 1000 Broadway St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Hollywood Casino Columbus: 200 Georgesville Road, Columbus, OH 43228
- Hollywood Casino Toledo: 1968 Miami St., Toledo, OH 43605
- JACK Cleveland Casino: 100 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113
Tips for playing roulette
There are lots of ways to bet in roulette. Between the inside and outside betting options, there are dozens of ways to place a wager on the spinning wheel. However, unlike some other games with a great many ways to bet, such as craps, very few of the options in roulette amp up the house edge compared to the standard wagers. Your expectation on a roulette wheel remains remarkably consistent, no matter how you play.
However, there are still a few tips to keep in mind if you plan to make roulette a part of your next venture into an Ohio casino:
Prefer foreign to domestic wheels
Some games will be kind enough to say whether they are spinning with an American-style or European-style wheel. Others will not, in which case all you need to do is count the number of green zero slots on the wheel. If you have a choice, play European roulette, since its single zero offers a more favorable house edge.
Expect to pay more for better games
While European wheels are superior to American ones in terms of their house edge, they are also harder to find. After all, the casinos are not in the dark about the statistics of their games. If you do find a European-style game — especially if it’s French roulette — expect to encounter higher table minimums in order to play. Though the casino’s advantage is significantly lower, you are still an underdog to win, and the higher-priced bets could soak you worse than usual.
Cover an area of the wheel with bets
Although the payout for hitting a single number on a spin is 35-to-1, you shouldn’t simply bet on your favorite number from 1 to 36 and call it good. After all, the independent chances of hitting that number are either 36-to-1 or 37-to-1 on any given spin, and there’s no guarantee that the one time is coming around anytime soon. Instead, try to bet in a way that gives you multiple winning numbers. You can do so with some of the outside, row or column bets. However, you can also wager on multiple numbers at once that are grouped together on the board. The payouts won’t be as big, but you’ll have a much better chance at winning.
Don’t play too long
Understand that the odds are against you on every spin. Don’t plan for roulette to be an all-night event. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to come out on the wrong end of a roulette game. What you’re trying to do is hit a streak of a few wins and bank a short-term profit. If you hit a few times, stand up and walk around. Nothing feels worse than losing all that money that you won a few spins ago.
Play with throwaway funds only
Coupled with the notion of limiting your time at the table is the responsible gambling tenet of only playing with money that you can afford to lose. We’ll go a step further and say that you should play with money that you could throw in the trash without worry. Don’t ever gamble with money you need for other essentials like food, rent, paying bills and the like. Also, if losing at a roulette table causes you even a tiny bit of pain, you’re playing over your head.