Online Gambling Ohio: The Best Ohio Casino Sites

Legal gambling in Ohio dates back to the 1930s. The state has long been gambling-friendly, and is also one of the first states to offer legal online gambling options. We will look at the state of online gambling in Ohio, including the outlook for Ohio online casinos. We will also briefly overview the upcoming legal sports betting market.

Legal Online Gambling in Ohio

Ohio is a gambling-friendly state, with numerous live gambling options and even a few online gambling options. The state has a long history of supporting gambling, with the first form of legal gambling dating back to 1933. Despite the long history of gambling in the state, there are still many laws on the books pertaining to gambling.

  • Ohio Gambling Laws: The Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2915 addresses many forms of gambling, but not all gambling. In short, bookmaking is illegal, as is operating games of chance for profit except as a licensed entity.
  • Past Ohio Online Gambling Ban: Furthermore, Ohio is one state where it is unlawful to play online casino games or poker for a significant source of income. As such, that would make professional gambling illegal in the state. 
  • Avoiding Ohio Online Casinos: In Ohio, online casino games are illegal, as many of the current laws apply to them. However, the state does not criminalize the act of playing at online casinos. However, we would urge caution if you plan to make online gambling a significant form of income, as it would constitute professional gambling. 
  • Ohio Online Lottery Sales: There are legal forms of online gambling in Ohio. For example, the Ohio Lottery allows for online gaming. Furthermore, certain forms of online bingo and raffles are permitted through charitable organizations. However, the biggest change in online gambling in Ohio will occur by the start of 2023.
  • 2021 Online Sportsbook Legalization: HB 29 was a landmark bill passed by the Ohio Legislature in 2021. The bill legalizes both retail sportsbooks and online sportsbooks. Once the market launches, sports betting will be legal at brick-and-mortar casinos, bars and restaurants, and via online sportsbooks.
  • January 2023 Online Sportsbook Launch: The legal sports betting market is required to launch by January 1, 2023, and regulators are on pace to meet the launch date.
  • Future Ohio Online Casino Laws: However, Ohio online casino regulation is still a ways off in the future. Once the sports betting market launches, we can expect to see other forms of online gambling in Ohio addressed.
  • Legal Gambling Age in Ohio: The legal gambling age in Ohio is based on the game. For bingo games, anyone 16 or older can participate. For the state lottery, Keno, and horse racing, you can start playing at 18. For all other forms of gambling, you must be 21 or older.

Forms of Legal Gambling in Ohio

There are at least ten forms of legal gambling in Ohio. Dating back to 1933, Ohio citizens and state lawmakers have regularly addressed the matter of gambling expansion. Below is a list of legal gambling options in Ohio.

  • Skill-Based Amusement Games - Skill-based amusement games are legal in Ohio, provided they don’t award cash or cash equivalents, such as gift cards. Also, prizes must not exceed $10 in wholesale value per play. For example, games that award tickets which can be exchanged for prizes are legal.
  • Sweepstakes Games - Sweepstakes games that award prizes, such as restaurant promotions, are legal in Ohio. However, participants must be able to play the game without a purchase to comply with all federal laws. Ohio law states that you cannot make a purchase to participate in a gambling game. As such, Sweepstakes Casinos and online poker rooms are not permitted in the state.
  • Raffles - Raffles are allowed in Ohio, provided charitable organizations run them. Furthermore, online raffles are permitted by charitable organizations.
  • Horse Racing - Horse racing is the oldest form of legal gambling in Ohio. The OH General Assembly regulated it in 1933. The Ohio Racing Commission oversees horse racing in the state. There are seven race tracks throughout the state and an off-track wagering parlor in Sandusky. The seven race tracks also serve as racinos with online casino gaming available.
  • State Lottery - Voters approved a state lottery back in 1973, and the state lottery now offers numerous scratch games and live draw games. Ohio also participated in multi-state lotteries, including PowerBall and Mega Millions.

    One of the first forms of legal online gambling in Ohio is the state lottery. Starting in 2020, players can now purchase and redeem tickets in the Ohio Lottery App just as if they were in a live retailer. Also, VLT terminals are also available at the seven racinos around the state.
  • Keno - In 2008, the Ohio Lottery Commission approved Keno games for bars and other retail outlets. In 2012, Keno was rolled out to licensed retail lottery locations. Keno games are also available online through the Ohio Lottery app.
  • Bingo - There are more "bingo halls" in Ohio than any other form of gambling. Charitable bingo games are legal in Ohio. Charitable organizations can run no more than two sessions a week with total prizes not exceeding $3,500. There are over 870 bingo halls throughout the state.
  • Fantasy Sports - Fantasy sports is the oldest form of legal online gambling in Ohio. Legalized in 2016, the activity is regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. There are 15 sites presently offering DFS in the state, and that number will likely increase once online sportsbooks become live.
  • Live Casinos - In 2009, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow casinos in four cities. Hollywood Casino operates in both Columbus and Toledo. Jack Cleveland Casino is Cleveland's casino, while Cincinnati hosts the Hard Rock Casino. All four casinos are full-service, with slots, blackjack, and table games available. 
  • Sports Betting - Sports betting was legalized in 2021 after Governor Mike DeWine signed HB 29 into law. Under the proposal, the state has until Jan 1, 2023, to launch the market. The OH Casino Control Commission recently went on record stating that legal sports betting will begin by the start of 2023.

Best Brick-and-Mortar Casinos in Ohio

Jack Cleveland CasinoCleveland800 Slot Machines, 120 Gaming Tables
Hard Rock CasinoCincinnati1830 Slot Machines, 131 Gaming Tables
Hollywood Casino ColumbusColumbus1900 Slot Machines, 95 Gaming Tables
Hollywood Casino ToledoToledo2000 Slot Machines, 98 Gaming Tables

Future Changes to Gambling Regulations in Ohio

2021 was a banner year for online gambling in Ohio. Sports betting was legalized, and by the start of 2023, both retail and online sports betting will be available. This has been a lengthy process, and regulators are working diligently toward the January 1, 2023 launch date. 

  • Future Ohio Online Casino Bills: As such, we have heard little about Ohio online casino regulation. This is normal for a state that has recently gone through gambling expansion. However, there is another consideration that has slowed the growth of online gambling nationwide. 
  • 2022 US Midterm Elections: The mid-term elections are this year. Every seat in the US House of Representatives is up for grabs, as are 33 seats in the US Senate. Furthermore, 34 states will elect a Governor this year. This is a banner year for politicians, and unfortunately, topics like online gambling tend to take a backseat. 
  • Ohio Lawmakers and Online Gambling: Online gambling is still a challenging topic for many lawmakers. In some regions of the country, gambling is still considered taboo. At best, it is a distraction that politicians like to avoid. That is why many legislatures have not even pursued online gambling bills this year. Ohio lawmakers are likely taking the same stance.
  • Senator Kirk Schuring: However, things often go back to normal after the midterm elections. Politicians can then move forward on any planned legislation, including Ohio online casino gambling. Don’t be surprised to see State Senator Kirk Schuring champion an online casino bill starting next year.
  • Online Gambling Expansion: Also, once sports betting launches, the chances of regulating Ohio online casino gambling increase. That is because online casino gambling is considered a complementary partner to sports betting. Once successful sports betting markets launch, many arguments against legal online casino and poker betting dissipate.
  • Endless Search for Tax Revenue: Casinos and lawmakers may look for ways to increase state revenues without raising taxes on their constituents. This can come through online casino gambling. The quicker OH sports betting becomes successful, the faster Ohio lawmakers and Ohio voters will become comfortable with other forms of online gambling. That could speed up the timeline to legalize online casino gambling.

How You Can Help Online Casino Legalization Efforts

Ohio citizens support online gambling - just look at the popularity of the lottery and sports betting.

  • Note That Regulated Online Casinos Are Safer: Many players still gamble online despite the lack of regulation. Regulated online casino games will benefit everyone by providing a safe environment for casino gamblers.
  • Point to Job Expansion: Further, the remote job sector will grow. Licensed online casinos and poker sites would bring jobs to the region and give the state another tax revenue stream.
  • Reach Out to Lawmakers: There are ways that you can help further the cause of online casino regulation. It starts by contacting your state legislators. Talk with your Representatives and State Senators about supporting online gambling expansion. Stress the positives that legal online gambling can bring to the state. Highlight the successes in the legal gaming industry.
  • Organize Online Gambling Support: Contact others that support legal online gambling and urge them to act. Create and sign petitions that support online gambling, and attend any town halls or meetings held on the matter in the future. The more you voice your support, the more lawmakers will listen.
  • Support Legal Online Ohio Bookmakers: Finally, the best way to support legal online casino gambling is to support other forms of gambling that are already legal. If you plan to bet on sports in Ohio, make sure to sign up and play through online sportsbooks. For those who play the lottery, try and play online instead of going to a retail location. The more traffic that online gambling options bring, the more lawmakers and regulators will see the need for online casino games.
  • Look to Other US States: With sports betting now legal and launching soon, Ohio is in a great place to continue its gambling expansion. Look at New Jersey and its successes with online casinos. The same can happen in Ohio. Online casino gambling in Ohio will certainly occur at some point in the future, but action now may help to accelerate that timeline.

Online Gambling Ohio FAQ

Can you gamble online in Ohio?

You can gamble online in Ohio, though there are only certain forms of online gambling that are specifically legal. The Ohio lottery, as well as charitable bingos and raffles, can be played online. In 2023, online sportsbooks will also become legal to play at. However, while there is no specific law as to the legality of playing at online casinos, Ohio does not criminalize the act of doing so.

What gambling is legal in Ohio?

Forms of gambling that are legal in Ohio include the state lottery, horse racing, bingo, raffles, keno, fantasy sports, skill-based amusement games, and playing at live casinos. Legislation has passed to legalize both online and retail sports betting, but the market will likely not launch until the beginning of 2023.

Can you gamble on your phone in Ohio?

Online gambling is not legal in Ohio yet. Mobile gambling falls into the same category, so you can't gamble on your phone in Ohio yet. On January 1, 2023, online sports betting is due to launch in Ohio. Players can gamble online on their smartphone using the approved online sportsbooks from that date forward. 

Can you play online slots in Ohio?

Not legally. Ohio doesn't have legal online casinos at the moment, so most online slots you'll find operate through offshore online casinos. Players can enjoy slot games at sweepstakes casinos and social gaming sites. These sites offer free coins at times, though they also have paid gambling and real money prizes. 

What online casinos can I play in Ohio?

We recommend players avoid Ohio online casinos at the moment. Though Ohio residents can sign up at a variety of sweepstakes casinos, social gaming casinos, and offshore casino sites, none are licensed by the Ohio Casino Control Commission or the Ohio State Lottery. That's because the legislature has not legalized online casinos at present. If ever it does, we'll report it here. 

What’s the best online casino in Ohio?

We don't recommend an Ohio online casinos as our chosen favorite at this time. If ever Ohio licensed online casinos, we'll provide a full review and recommendation based on the site's games, banking options, bonuses, loyalty club, software, and customer support. 

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