With such close proximity to Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, who have already legalized sports betting, Ohio is trying to catch up to keep their sports bettors within state borders. With 12 million people in the state, the potential missed revenue from sports betting could greatly help the state.
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Currently, the only forms of gambling in the state are limited to commercial casinos, poker, horse betting and Daily Fantasy sports betting. You can bet socially, of course, the state has a hard time regulating bets made with friends.
Casinos are new to the state, as they were prohibited until 2009. Since then, 11 casinos and racinos have popped up, including four standalone Las Vegas-style casinos. The market isn’t exactly booming for these styles of casino, and revenue isn’t picking up as of late.
In 2017, they followed the lead from other states and chose to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. This allows residents from Ohio to pay entries into sports pool contests at FanDuel or DraftKings, or a similar service.
In mid-2019, Ohio introduced two bills - House bill 194 and Senate bill 111 that would legalize and regulate sports betting in the state. Currently, these bills are close, with nine hearings on the subject, but sports betting in Ohio is not a priority for lawmakers especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
With COVID-19 shutting down everything in the United States, it is concerning for some states how to make up for lost revenue they might have generated in that time. Sports betting would be a huge opportunity for struggling states, and coronavirus shutting things down could ultimately be a catalyst to start legalizing sports betting in more states.
Not to mention, Cincinnati is a mere 20 minutes from Indiana, and billboards are littered throughout the city to lure Ohio residents to the neighbouring state to bet on sports. It seems that Ohio has some competition within its own state, making it likely they will pass the bill.
As of April 2021, The Ohio Senate released a statement regarding the latest proposal to legalize sports betting in the state, proposing two types of licenses. This would allow for sports betting inside casinos, which would be regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Kentucky is also close to legalization, so soon, Ohio will be an island surrounded by legal sports betting that is easily accessible to their residents, who will be funding other state’s governmental bodies.
There have been concerns about the prospect of betting on collegiate sports, and many Ohio colleges (13 to be exact) have written in opposition letters to exclude college sports from the sports betting offering.
Can I bet on sports in Ohio?
Not yet, but lawmakers have two bills currently in committee to begin the process of creating sports betting legislation. So in due time, there will very likely be sports betting legalized in Ohio. But for now, sports bettors will have to look to online sportsbooks and betting online.
Betting online is safe and easy at the right sportsbooks. It’s a good idea to do your research and ensure you find a sportsbook that’s safe and trustworthy.
Top Online Sportsbooks for Betting in Ohio
There are so many online sportsbooks to choose from, it’s hard to know which one you should pick. We have done some of the leg work for you – we have used and reviewed some of the top sportsbooks available. We have reviewed some of the important criteria that bettors look for when shopping for an online sportsbook, including deposit options, bonus information and cashout options.
By checking out our sportsbook reviews and choose the right sportsbook for you based on your needs, you can make the best sports betting decisions possible, and have a little fun while gambling on sports.
Ohio Sports Betting Legalization Timeline
2018-2020: Ohio Makes Slow Progress
Two separate gambling bills were introduced in Ohio in 2019. One in the Senate and another in the House. They would have to reconcile things like tax rates and where exactly gambling can take place. These bills mainly died in committee, after receiving months of hearings.
New bills were introduced as well as the old bills continuing to work their way through committees. While the Senate bill is stuck, the House bill finally moved out of committee, and got approved by the full chamber the very next day!
2021: Almost There!
With neighboring states passing sports betting legalization, Ohio is starting to feel the pressure. The Senate finally passed their own version of sports betting legalization by a whopping margin: 30-2.
However, the two bills that have been passed are slightly different, so they still need to reconcile the differences. This should happen relatively soon, allowing Buckeye bettors to get started in 2022.
Ohio is home to 11 casinos and racinos. There are four casinos, and seven race tracks with casino gambling also available dubbed the name Racinos. None of these casinos or racinos are tribal casinos.
- Jack Casino Cleveland
- Jack Thistledown Racino
- Hollywood Casino Columbus
- Scioto Downs Racino
- Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center
- Jack Cincinnati Casino
- Hollywood Casino
- Toledo Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway
- MGM Northfield Park
- Miami Valley Gaming Racino
Betting on Ohio Sports Teams
Ohio is home to many professional and collegiate sports teams.
In the NFL, The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals call Ohio home. The Browns have been around since 1945 and were relocated to Baltimore in 1996, then back to Cleveland in 1999. They haven’t done anything notable, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the NFL for decades.
The Bengals were brought to Cincinnati in 1966 as an expansion team, and they have secured nine division titles and two conference championships, but have yet to win a Super Bowl.
In the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers were formed as an expansion team in 1970, and it was a rough start – losing their first 15 games and struggling for years. In 2003, they picked LeBron James No. 1 in the draft and suddenly, the tides turned, where they won seven division titles, five conference championships and one NBA final. Since losing LeBron to the Lakers, we’ll see how that pans out.
There are two Major League Baseball teams in Ohio: the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. The Indians have been around since 1901, winning two World Series championships, and 10 Central division titles. They currently hold on to the longest World Series drought in the history of the game, with their last World Series win being in 1948.
The Cincinnati Reds are even older, with their first season being in 1881. They’ve won five World Series titles, nine National League pennants and 10 division titles.
In the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets came to Ohio as an expansion team in 2000, and haven’t had much luck in the playoff department. They have only qualified for the playoffs once in their 18-year existence.