Ohio is a state that is rich in history, especially when talking about sports. From the love of the college teams like the Ohio State Buckeyes to the emergence of Lebron James and the hapless histories of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, this is a market that is ripe for sports gambling. Well, that time could be coming sooner than we all think, although this state has been slow off the mark in the past with regards to other gaming regulations. This page is a primer on all things gambling in Ohio – what’s legal, what’s not and what’s in store for the state.
Sports Betting in Ohio
As we mentioned, Ohio is somewhat of a sports-obsessed state. It is safe to say that there are fans of all kinds of local teams all across the state, and with this much professional and collegiate sports action, there is definitely some sports betting taking place. However, until the middle of 2018, Ohio (and every other state not named Nevada) were prohibited from offering legal sports betting. That all changed when the Supreme Court voted to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, allowing states to make up their own minds about regulating the industry. It took Ohio a bit longer than other states but in March 2019, the legislature has presented a law project that would allow both retail and online sports betting.
Online Sports Betting
Ohio residents who love sports and want to have a gamble here and there have been relegated to options that are less than glamorous. Many still use bookies who can be found at bars and on street corners, while others have gone with another shady alternative – offshore sportsbooks. Both options are equally bad and thankfully it appears that they will both soon be out of business with the introduction of new gambling laws in the state of Ohio.
Under this law project, both retail and online sports betting will be authorized which means that a healthy competition is likely to occur between multiple legal sports betting sites.
Now, at Betting News we want to give all our readers a full understanding of what sportsbooks are the best for you to choose for your deposits and bets. We compile recommendations from our team of experts who play and review all the sites that are licensed in the USA to find the best in each state. Most online sportsbooks offer the same core products, but we of course prefer the ones that offer different bet types, interesting promotions, and a great mobile experience. These days, you are more likely to make a bet from your phone at a sports bar than at home, and with in-play betting increasing in popularity, a strong mobile product can often be the difference between a good and bad player experience. Modern sportsbooks understand this, and have been improving their mobile delivery over the years to accommodate this new channel.
Horse Betting in Ohio
One area of gaming law in Ohio that has no ambiguity is pari-mutuel betting. Horse racing is very popular in the state, and there are still seven tracks across Ohio that offer live races throughout the year. These tracks give horse racing enthusiasts an opportunity to spend time watching races live (and betting on them of course), but they also offer simulcast races from across the continent. This means that someone could spend a significant amount of time in a facility betting on races even after the last live race has finished.
The horse racing industry has seen better times economically, and to help support these tracks, many states including Ohio have allowed for casino games at the properties. Adding these slots and table games have given the tracks the revenue they need to keep the doors open even as horse betting handle continues to dwindle. The horse racing tracks are likely to benefit enormously from the new sports betting laws in Ohio as they will certainly be authorized to offer retail sports betting and maybe even launch online gambling products themselves.
Online Horse Betting
The land-based racetracks and OTBs in Ohio are not permitted to offer online betting yet, but that doesn’t mean that players in the state can’t bet on their favorite tracks from home. Companies like DRFBets and Twinspires are based outside the state but are still able to take bets from Ohio residents. If you are looking to make a bet on a big race online, check out any of those sites.
Casino Gambling in Ohio
Surprisingly, casinos were not legal in Ohio until 2009. This does seem like a long time for people to wait to play in their own state, and with the amount of traffic that was leaving to neighboring states to play their favorite slots and table games, the government finally got their act together and passed some legislation after many efforts in the past had stalled.
Today there are a handful of casinos in the state, and each of these offers a full suite of games for players. With sports betting regulation likely to come this year, we are probably going to see these casinos lobby to get the new sports betting licenses. For now, you can get your fix of spinning the reels or hunting for blackjack at the land-based casinos that now exist in the state.
Online Casinos in Ohio
Even though the legislation that passed allowing casinos in Ohio happened in 2009, right in the middle of the internet era, there was no provision for casinos offering online versions of the game. With progress apparently being made on the question of online sports betting, we believe that online casino sites will be next to be legalized in the next couple of years.
Lottery in Ohio
Ohio residents have been chasing lottery jackpots for decades, and all of those ticket sales are helping many worthy causes in the state. The Ohio Lottery provides access to some of the massive pooled jackpot games like Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as offering multiple daily draw games across the state. If you need an instant rush, then you can choose from any of the dozens of scratch tickets found at retailers all over Ohio, ranging in price from a dollar all the way up to $20 if you are a big spender.
Ohio Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Ohio?
Sports betting is not legal in Ohio at the current time, even though the state is full of major sports fans. Between college and pro teams, Ohio residents are constantly cheering for their favorite teams, and very likely are finding alternative means to make their bets. However, the state is probably going to move to provide some safer sports betting alternatives shortly and as of March 2019 a concrete law project to legalize sports betting in Ohio is under review.
When will sports betting be legal in Ohio?
We can’t say exactly when Ohio will pass sports betting legislation, but we can give you an educated guess. As the new law project has been presented in March 2019, and many states in the vicinity of Ohio are considering tabling bills on the topic, it sure would seem like the Ohio legislature won’t be waiting too long. We can’t imagine them waiting as long as they for casino gambling in the state and the public pressure will be heavy for this one. We predict that there will be legislation passed in 2019, before the start of the NFL season.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Ohio?
The best online sportsbook is different for everyone but our experts know enough about the industry to underline the key qualities that make a sportsbook great. We review all sports betting sites in the USA and we can therefore recommend the best sites in each state. Our reviews are based on the odds offered, the promotions that make playing more interesting, the welcome bonus of course but the loyalty program and customer service quality as well. A good combination of all these factors is what makes an online sportsbook better than the rest.