While an Ohio sports betting bill is still in the works, residents can content themselves with daily fantasy sports. Under the terms of the “predominance test,” daily fantasy is classed as a contest of skill and explicitly legalized. In Ohio, daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are therefore permitted under state law.
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Gambling laws in Ohio are practically a tale of two eras. In prior decades, the legislation seemed guided by the Prohibition era, as it maintained a negative stance toward casino betting. Although horse racing, charity bingo, social poker and lotteries crept into the regulatory realms, casinos were left out in the cold. However, things turned around in 2009, when a new casino bill paved the way for a new, more liberal Ohio.
Today Ohio is gradually becoming one of the more progressive states with regard to betting legislation. Although online gambling in Ohio has yet to be legalized, the fact that you can do virtually everything else is a positive sign. Since the winds of change blew through the state in 2009, there has even been talk of sports betting in Ohio. And while nothing has been set in stone just yet, the Buckeye State has shown that it can move quickly where betting is concerned.
Like many states, Ohio immediately relaxed its laws against certain types of betting after the Prohibition era drew to a close. However, despite liberalization in some areas, the state remained anti-casino for many years. Fortunately, as time passed, things improved, and today the history of gambling in Ohio suggests that big changes could be on the horizon.
Today Ohio not only has commercial casinos, but also tribal casinos and "racinos" (casino games inside racing venues). At last count, there were 11 places to play everything from blackjack, slots and roulette to traditional poker games, such as Texas Hold ’em and Omaha.
As it stands, Ohio online casinos are nothing but a pipe dream. However a change is far from a long shot. We’ve already noted the abrupt legal change in 2009 that allowed live casinos to open their doors statewide. When you add to this the May 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which gave states the option to offer legal sports betting, things could change quickly. Indeed, there has already been talk of regulating online sports betting in Ohio. If that happens, it may not take much for casinos and poker sites to be added to the mix.
At this stage, online poker in Ohio occupies the same position as casinos. But Ohio does seem to be better equipped than many other states. Another potential positive for legalization is the liquidity sharing pact among New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. Put into play in 2018, this pact makes online poker a more attractive proposition for operators, players and state officials. If this agreement proves lucrative for the three states mentioned, Ohio might look to join the network. So even though Ohio online poker is still not a reality, there’s a chance it soon will be.
Live sports betting in Ohio has been around since the state's regulation of the horse racing industry in 1933. However, since PASPA was struck down in 2018, there has been talk of extending these provisions to other sports, such as baseball, football and basketball.
Ohio sports betting could be dependent on what happens in neighboring states. West Virginia is taking bets now and Pennsylvania could do so by the end of 2018. Lawmakers have introduced legislation for the 2019 session to bring legal betting to the Buckeye State. This points to the strong probability that live and online sports betting in Ohio will become a reality as it watches its neighbors reap the benefits of sports betting.