Ohio Online Poker Laws

Once a staunch anti-gambling regime, Ohio has changed its tune over the last decade with rapid legalization and enhancement of gambling options across the state.

The first appearance of legal gambling following the lifting of outright bans throughout the state in the 1800s was in 1933 when horse racing betting became legalized. That remained Ohioans sole option for legal gambling for decades until the Ohio lottery, including scratch-off games, draws and VLT, were legalized in 1973.

A separate amendment two years later in 1975 made charitable gambling, including bingo and raffles legal.

It would be another three decades before Ohio gambling laws were laxed again. In 2009 a referendum was held and approved the construction of four commercial casinos in the state.

Is Online Poker Legal in Ohio?

Online poker falls into a grey are in Ohio. Under Ohio’s gaming laws, the words ‘online’ and ‘internet’ are not found. There may not be any specific laws pertaining to online gambling but some gambling laws on the books in Ohio may be interpreted to cover online gambling and online poker. Despite this, several offshore online poker sites allow Ohio residents to play on their sites.

It’s also important to note that Ohio authorities have never arrested any Ohio residents solely on charges of gambling online.

Ohio Online Poker Sites

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#1 Poker Site
  • 1
  • Download BetOnline Poker
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  • Bovada Poker
  • Up to $500
    • Accepts Bitcoin & Bitcoin Cash
    • Offers anonymous tables
    • Min deposit: $10 with Bitcoin, $20 with credit cards
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  • Sportsbetting.ag Poker Download
  • Up to $2500
    • Accepts all USA & CA players
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Is Any Gambling Legal in Ohio?

Yes. Over the years most forms of online gambling have gradually been legalized in Ohio.

Betting on horse racing, lotteries and charitable gambling have been legal in Ohio for many decades.

In 2009 a referendum led to the eventual construction of four commercial casinos in Ohio’s four major cities, Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland and Cincinnati. All four casinos allow Class III gaming, meaning they offer table gaming, such as Blackjack and Craps, slots and live poker. The referendum also allowed the construction of seven racinos in the state, where off-track horse betting is allowed, along with slots.

Ohio laws also allow legal social gaming. Under Ohio law this allows Ohio residents to host home poker games in their basements. These are only allowed if the operator of the game is not profiting on the game through entry fees or a rake.

One form of gambling that remains illegal in Ohio is sports betting. However, multiple bills are currently before Ohio legislators that would legalize sports betting in the state, so it is likely just a matter of time before the Buckeye state legalizes it.

Ohio Laws Pertinent to Online Poker

There are no laws on the books in Ohio that specifically mention online gambling or online poker. However, the laws in Ohio that apply to betting and gambling could possibly be interpreted to include online gambling.

The Ohio constitution outlines numerous violations regarding gambling under section 2915.02. The ones that could impact online gambling include:

“engage in bookmaking, or knowingly engage in conduct that facilitates bookmaking.”

“establish, promote, or operate or knowingly engage in conduct that facilitates any game of chance conducted for profit or any scheme of chance.”

“engage in betting or in playing any scheme or game of chance as a substantial source of income or livelihood.

The first two points listed above could possibly be used in any argument to make offshore gambling sites, and poker site illegal. These arguments have never been officially made. The third point would apply to anyone using gambling to make money, which could be potentially used against anyone playing online in Ohio professionally.

Again, as we mentioned above, no one in Ohio has been arrested solely for online poker.