Legal Ohio Sports Betting Sites

There is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code that explicitly bans or even regulates the operation of legal Ohio sports betting sites. That said, such ambiguity is reserved only for online sites, as sports betting at physical sites inside Ohio’s borders is banned at the federal level. Indeed, Ohio doesn’t have its own sports betting laws, choosing instead to yield to the United States government’s guidelines policing the practice.

This is both beneficial and detrimental. On the one hand, it’s great that federal laws like the Wire Act (1961), the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (1992), and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (2006) have set the legal precedent that bettors are protected from prosecution – the government is only interested in pursuing those who take bets, not those who make them. On the other hand, individual states have the sovereign duty to make their own financial decisions, and these federal gambling laws have cost state coffers billions of dollars in lost revenue.

In Ohio’s case, the state’s not just missing out on tax revenue, either. No, the lack of sports gambling in the state leaves a gaping hole in the economy itself, forcing it to operate at lower than optimum thresholds of employment and local spending. The overall economic impact of legal Ohio sports betting sites in Ohio proper is estimated to be between $4 billion and $5 billion dollars. And with the revival of Ohio sports these last few years, that estimate is likely on the low end. Ohio is flyover country, but with legalized sports betting, it would be a bona fide destination.

Ohio Sports Betting Laws

Ohio sports betting laws are reasonably straightforward. Chapter 2915 of the Ohio Revised Code describes the definitions and restrictions that apply to the practice. Notably absent from this document is any mention of sports betting. This means that, for all intents and purposes, the only sports gambling laws that apply to Ohio are the three major federal statutes, none of which actually has any teeth when it comes to prosecuting sports bettors.

Because of this, legal Ohio sports betting sites flourish. Being based overseas, they are unbound by US law, and the modern state of Internet-based communications and payment options make them extremely appealing to Ohio-based sports betting fans.

Federal Laws That Impact Ohio Sports Betting

There are only a handful of federal laws that impact Arizona sports betting. The first law to target the industry was the Wire Act of 1961, an anti-racketeering law that was included in a package of other anti-crime acts. The law makes it illegal for persons in the business of gambling to accept or assist with the placement of sports wagers via the use of a wire communication facility. Though wire communications only included telephones and telegraphs during the initial enactment of the law, the term is now interpreted to include the internet. It is important to note that the law specifically targets gambling operators and businesses, not those placing the wagers.

There are three federal laws that impact Ohio sports betting, though none of them works as advertised to actually stop people from legally doing as they please. The first of these is the Wire Act of 1961, which was a response to irrational fears of interstate organized crime messing up the states’ lottery revenues. Essentially, the Wire Act makes it illegal to use a telecommunications device to receive bets across state lines. The second and more pertinent law is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which makes betting on sports illegal pretty much everywhere but Las Vegas, because reasons.

The third federal law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), a redundant and mostly pointless piece of work that criminalizes financial institutions like banks and credit unions for knowingly transferring gambling money to and from Internet-based bettors. Naturally, the UIGEA has done nothing to stem the tide of people betting on sports over the Internet, which makes it about as effective as its bigger brothers above.

The reason why legal Ohio sports betting sites exist in the face of all these prohibitions is because the laws are written such that only the taker of a bet commits a crime. As simple bettors, Ohio residents can place wagers at overseas sportsbooks with almost total impunity. As these sportsbooks are not governed by US laws, the US is left without any viable victim to prosecute.

What Is PASPA?

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, commonly called PASPA, is a federal law promoted by the various major American sports leagues – including the NBA and its then-commissioner David Stern (which is ironic because it is Stern’s successor, Adam Silver, who is now leading the charge to legalize sports betting). PASPA was designed to “protect the children” (or some similar hyperbole) from the allegedly perilous effect that legal sports betting would have on the “integrity of the game.”

Because sports betting was and remains popular nationwide, the federal government pretended it was justified in claiming jurisdiction over the matter. Thus, after PASPA was passed, only Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon – all exempt under the law’s grandfather clause (which was only put in to give New Jersey the opportunity to have an East Coast monopoly on sports betting, which they somehow managed to screw up anyways) – could thenceforth operate sports betting services. Of these four states, only Nevada currently offers a full complement of sports betting options.

What Is The Game Act?

The Gambling Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, a.k.a. the GAME Act, is a legislative proposal by congressman Frank Pallone (D, New Jersey) to repeal PASPA and replace it with distinct guidelines on what exactly constitutes gambling.

For example, the GAME Act would specifically define online sports betting, fantasy sports, eSports, and other non-traditional betting activities as gambling by name, doing away with the gray areas that many states and vendors operate under for the sake of simply giving the people a product they want. It is important to note that, in and of itself, the GAME Act (or any other repeal or overturning of PASPA) will not automatically make sports betting legal in Ohio. Ohio will still have to pass its own legislation or hold its own ballot initiative to legalize sports betting.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Ohio?

Per ORC Chapter 2915, Ohio itself has no specific law against sports betting or online betting. However, the state does regulate its bookmakers, and no Ohio casino offers online wagering to Ohio residents. Therefore, online gambling in Ohio exists in a sort of limbo. The state simply relies on the federal government to set its legal standards while staying quiet re its own position on the matter.

The main takeaway, then, is this: There are no legal Ohio sports betting sites where you can gamble on sports. At least, there aren’t any on land. Offshore is a different story. If you sign up at an overseas sportsbook like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, or 5Dimes, you’ll find that not only is online sports betting legal in Ohio, but it’s a whole lot of fun, too.

Mobile Sports Betting Apps For Ohio Bettors

As far as dedicated apps for legal Ohio sports betting sites go, there really aren’t any. Both Apple and Google have various content-based guidelines for approval in their respective app stores, and neither one plays particularly well with any sort of real-money gambling app. This will probably change at some point in the near future, but while PASPA remains on federal books, you’ll have to rely on various workarounds.

One of those workarounds is called the “web app.” All the major offshore sportsbooks offer mobile versions of their sites, each optimized for small screens and catering specifically to the needs of on-the-go clientele. Once you save your favorite sportsbook’s mobile site to the home screen of your phone or tablet, it effectively becomes a web-based app. Such web apps are typically more customizable, feature faster shortcuts for more direct betting, and offer a generally more streamlined, graphically inviting experience.

What Is The Legal Age For Gambling In Ohio

Like most states, Ohio’s varied game types and betting establishments all have different ages of entry, from 18 to 21. While there are no specific laws for how old you have to be to take part in the action on legal Ohio sports betting sites, it is advised that you always go by the legal age to bet on sports at land based casinos in the state. In most cases, this means you need to be 21 years old to gamble on sports in Ohio.

It is true that Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes all set their minimum membership ages at 18, so if you’re not 21 yet, you probably wouldn’t have any problem opening an account, placing bets, or collecting winnings. However, on the (very, very slim) chance that you ever have your online gaming brought into question by the authorities, it will probably help your cause if you meet the state’s de facto 21-year-old gambling age limit.

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Ohio Sports Betting FAQ's

Are online sportsbooks safe to use if you live in Ohio?

Safe as houses. Specifically, they’re as safe as your house is. If you’re after legal Ohio sports betting sites for all your sports gambling needs, then home is where the heart is (although you should always bet with your head if you intend to turn a profit). As long as you keep your online betting reasonably private, there is no reason to believe that any harm can come of it – outside of that to your pocketbook, anyways.

Between Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes, you have a lot of options on where to place your bets, too. Each offers state-of-the-art encryption and privacy technologies, and all four also offer Bitcoin support. Not only are online sportsbooks safe to use if you live in Ohio, they’re probably the safest bit of online business you can do in the state.

Has any been arrested for sports betting in Ohio?

Nope. Nobody has ever been arrested for simply placing a bet at one of the Internet-based legal Ohio sports betting sites. Federal law focuses on the bookmaker or gambling house operator, and the state stays more or less hands off. This means that, as a sports bettor, you’re always in the clear.

What this doesn’t mean, however, is that you should flaunt your sports betting or make a big production of it. You shouldn’t. As with all financial matters, treat your online sports betting as a private affair. Don’t post your winnings to Facebook or Twitter or the like. There is simply no reason to court the attention of law enforcement, even over such an innocuous thing as betting on Ohio sports. (Unless you bet on the Bengals. If you bet on the Bengals, you deserve whatever Johnny Law throws at you.)

What should I do if my bank didn't process my credit or debit card deposit?

If the bank doesn’t process your credit or debit deposit at your favorite legal Ohio sports betting sites, it will be for one of two reasons. The first and simplest reason is this: It hasn’t been long enough, and you need to wait. Online deposits from bank cards can take up to 10 business days, so make absolutely certain to fill up your account a good three or four weeks before any event you’d like to bet on.

The second issue may be that the card company or bank in question just doesn’t do business with overseas sportsbooks. If this is the case, there isn’t anything left to do but explore the different deposit options that online sportsbooks have to offer. Luckily, there are lots. You can use a money order or bank transfer, write a personal check, or even use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to have a completely paperless experience.

What is the best way to fund your sports betting account?

There are several ways to fund your accounts at your favorite legal Ohio sports betting sites, but Bitcoin is the best one. Credit and debit cards are commonly used but sometimes unreliable, and methods like wire transfers and money orders take a long time to process. Also, each of those leaves a paper trail. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is much faster to process on both ends and is completely encrypted.

There is a catch, however: Bitcoin is volatile. Being a new product in a new category, Bitcoin is still finding its place in the grand scheme, as is cryptocurrency in general. As such, its value can fluctuate tremendously, swinging by $500 or more per day. Lately, Bitcoin has been appreciating, but it’s also been known to plummet for weeks at a time. Betting via Bitcoin can be risky: You could literally double your winnings one day and wipe them all out the next.

Do Online Sports Betting Sites Have Odds On Ohio State Buckeyes Football?

You better believe it. Barring the Cavaliers’ flash-in-the-pan relevance courtesy of the King, the Ohio State Buckeyes are arguably the largest and most popular sports team in the state, and legal Ohio sports betting sites always cater to the big names. And while there are plenty of big names in Ohio, including teams from every major professional sports league, none carries the long-term cachet or local fan-base of the Buckeyes.

Of course, Buckeyes bettors will be pleased to know that each sports betting site offers different odds on Ohio State games. That’s a very good thing, too, because predicting college football is hard enough to do without having a giant differential to deal with. Ohio State’s offense is potent, and when the spread gets too big, it often puts true fans in the awkward position of betting against their favorite team to turn a profit. I mean, there’s no way the Buckeyes can cover 21 points every week, is there?

What is live betting?

Live betting, also called in-game or in-play betting, is a type of betting that stays open – and changes regularly – after a sporting event has started. Traditionally, sports bets like moneylines or props are placed before a match begins, and the bettor has to wait for the contest to end to determine the success of his or her wager. With live betting, the action never stops, allowing bettors to wager on dynamic odds in real-time.

Live betting takes the sports betting experience to new heights, using modern communications technology to allow for accurate odds manipulation and bet placement. For example, if the Buckeyes have already eclipsed the spread after the first quarter, the casual bettor may pocket the sure thing and take their attention elsewhere. However, with live betting options on the table, this bettor will give the rout a second look. Those 1000:1 odds on the all-time single game yardage record may have just jumped to 100:1, enticing new action and continued viewership. Live betting takes into account the ebb and flow of every game, and this makes it uniquely engaging.

Do legal Ohio online sportsbooks have live betting?

Yes. As the most popular, fastest-growing new wagering model in the industry, live betting is a “killer app” for all legal Ohio sports betting sites. Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes all offer a comprehensive suite of live options when it comes to Ohio sports.

The only thing you really have to remember about live betting is this: You have to be quick. Odds for any given event within a game will often change many times every minute, and you only have a small window to get your bet in before the odds become unfavorable. For this reason, most sportsbooks will offer some kind of “quick bet mode” to help you get the right wager in at the right time.

Can I have more than one online sportsbook account?

Absolutely. However, it is advisable to have only one active account at each of your favorite legal Ohio sports betting sites. Since each site offers something different for their members (including enrollment bonuses and weekly freebies), it makes good sense to sign up at more than one such service. Another reason to have accounts across several sites is that you can effectively sidestep betting limits on certain events. Just don’t forget about your house payment.

And whatever you do, always remember to abide by your sportsbook’s terms of service. As long as you don’t risk your winnings by having multiple simultaneous accounts at individual sportsbooks, sign up wherever you want. There is simply no reason to limit your options. After all, sports betting at the best legal betting sites – like most other kinds – is largely a numbers game.

Betting On Horse Racing In Ohio

Ohio enjoys a longstanding tradition of horse race betting, offering seven different picturesque racetracks throughout the state. Residents and visitors can enjoy the exciting spectacle of harness racing at Northfield Park, Scioto Downs, and the Hollywood Dayton and Miami Valley Raceways. Meanwhile, for more standard Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred fare, Belterra Park, JACK Thistledown, and the Mahoning Valley Race Course are the places to be.

At the above facilities, Ohio offers on-track horse racing featuring pari-mutuel betting and simulcast events, and the state allows the action to play out at 14 different satellite locations. Several Ohio horse tracks are also of the “racino” variety, offering a small host of various casino-style table games, which means that there’s always something for everyone.

The Status Of Daily Fantasy Sports In Ohio

Daily Fantasy Sports is currently at the center of a wider gaming revolution in America. As such, its legal status is almost always changing state-to-state. Unfortunately, Ohio is one of the many US states that have not yet officially authorized the practice. However, all the big DFS sites do business in Ohio, with most players choosing to sign up at industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

Luckily, the hobby may not have to stay in the shadows for too much longer. With the introduction of HB132 in the Ohio general assembly, the legalization and regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports is on the horizon with a very real chance to be enacted as law. In the meantime, however, there is no reason to be hesitant, as Ohio residents are free to play in whatever DFS leagues they please.

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