Online Sports Betting in Ohio
Ohio sports betting is currently illegal. There are currently two bills under review in regard to legalizing sports gambling in the state of Ohio, but we won’t know much of anything, at least until the end of the 2019 session, and maybe not until mid-2020.
States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania do offer sports betting and may be close enough for many residents to take a little trip for a sports gambling getaway. Pennsylvania is opening up sportsbooks in Erie and Pittsburgh by the end of 2019, and West Virginia is already home to the popular Mountaineer Hotel Casino & Resort.
If you’re not ready to just run off and play, here’s some more information about sports betting in Ohio and what the rules mean for players.
Understanding Ohio Sports Betting: by the Bills
SB111 was introduced in March of 2019 by Senator John Eklund. This bill names the Ohio Casino Control Commission as the regulatory body and calls for legalized sports betting only at the existing 11 physical casinos and racinos in the state. Since its introduction, no real action has taken place. This is a limited legislative option, which is probably part of the issue.
On the other hand, the Ohio House is reviewing HB194, which is much more robust and offers a lot more detail on regulation and taxation than the senate bill. Created by Dave Greenspan, this bill puts the Lottery Commission in control of sports betting. It also outlines betting occurring at casinos and other locations, as well as fraternal or veteran’s organizations. The idea with HB194 is to treat sports gambling in Ohio more like a lottery or function that is kiosk-based.
What Happens Next?
If legislators can’t resolve their disagreements and come to a decision on which bill is best to pursue, it may still take some time for Ohio to completely legalize sports betting. Debates over integrity fees, official data, taxes, and other issues are taking their toll, but industry folks expect to see legalization by 2020, if not sooner.
What Sports are Included?
Typically, most major sports will be covered under new gaming laws. Players can bet on everything from the NFL to Major League Soccer, MMA, and more. Currently, Ohio gamers are able to bet on horse races and engage in greyhound betting both online and at racinos around the state. With the new laws, sports betting could be expanded to include all of your favorite Ohio teams, including:
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Cleveland Browns
- Cleveland Cavs
- Cincinnati Reds
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Columbus Crew
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- And more!
What About the Office Pool?
Surely, if your boss knew that sports betting was illegal, they wouldn’t let you participate in the office NFL pool, would they? This is where a lot of people get confused. In Ohio, betting pools are not specifically illegal for one reason: lack of profit.
If you bet on the NCAA March Madness brackets with your co-workers, you can win real money and do it legally, even in Ohio. The state explains that all betting pools that are 100% winnings are perfectly legal. That just means that there can’t be any profit withheld from the winnings.
If your office pool collects $575 for Superbowl wagers, for example, the winner needs to be paid $575. This goes for any type of pool bets or group wagers done on a private or semi-private basis.
Until Ohio can get its laws figured out, residents are left with limited options for sports betting. Fortunately, the limited options available are better than nothing at all.