Ohio State

With a name that rolls off your tongue like a happy melody, one can’t help but feel that Ohio would be a state that would roll out the red carpet for its visitors. But does this Midwestern state have the same friendly approach when it comes to gambling within its borders? We’ve done a little investigation to ascertain its stance on different forms of gambling – from land-based and real money online casinos to Facebook casinos and free play online casinos.

Ohio’s Gambling History

To paint a clearer picture of the present, we took a look at Ohio’s past gambling practices. Back in the day, the frontier state strictly enforced prohibition, fines for anyone caught gambling and an outright ban of any lotteries. It was only during the first part of the 20th century, 1933 to be exact, that these laws were relaxed and pari-mutuel betting at the horse racing tracks were allowed. The industry boomed overnight, which led to remote betting as well as electronic lottery games being allowed at these tracks. In 1973, the state lottery finally saw the light along with bingo and raffles being added two years later – all benefiting various worthy causes like volunteer firefighters, veterans and education projects. And land-based casinos? With no tribal casinos in Ohio, residents would have to travel to the neighbouring states of Indiana or West Virginia to place their bets. Then in 2009, licences were finally granted for four bricks-and-mortar casinos – one each for the state’s four major cities – where visitors get to cash in on slots, table games and poker. And in 2011, video lottery terminals were authorized at Ohio’s racetracks.

Online Gambling in Ohio

While there is clarity regards gambling laws for horse racing, some sports betting and land-based casino activities, online gambling is a whole different story. There are no actual written federal or state laws banning or allowing any form of online gambling in Ohio. No online casino players have had run-ins with the law, faced prosecution or gone to jail for such online activities to date, so it’s safe to say you can proceed to play at a legal offshore site. Alternatively, if there are free play online casinos for Ohioans who’d like to play free fun online slots. These type of casinos let you play without having to pay, so no monetary transaction is required.

Gambling Options in Ohio

There are so many ways to gamble the world over. While we’re all familiar with traditional land-based casinos, players can now also enjoy social casino apps, mobile social casinos and fun play casinos – most of which provide free entertainment. But what exactly are your options when you visit or reside in Ohio? Let’s sneak a peek at the various options available at your fingertips.

Land-Based Casinos

As mentioned earlier in this article, the state offers four 100% legal casinos, located in Ohio’s major cities: Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. When the law was passed to issue licences in 2009, these casinos were expected to generate $600 million in revenue, with fees collected that would benefit education and other local government initiatives. Take note, unlike various other states, Ohio doesn’t have any tribal casinos.

Online Casinos

No surprises here! Since Ohio’s state laws mostly precede that of the Internet era, there is no outright law for or against it. However, ‘Internet sweepstakes cafes’, that offer prizes you can win from terminals connected via the Internet, have been facing recent legal challenges. This attempted crack-down could result in online gambling being made illegal. Should you want to check out available online casinos? Give Club World, Lucky Red and Slots.LV a chance. These international online gaming sites don’t operate from within the state’s borders.

Live Poker

If you enjoy a good game of poker, you can rest assured that it’s legal to socially play this game with your friends at home – as long as nobody’s profiting from it. If you think your skills are up to scratch, you can also take a seat at a table in one of the poker rooms at the four legal land-based casinos in Ohio.

Online Poker

As with online casinos, the law isn’t clear on its stance towards or against online gambling activities such as poker. But if you had to broadly interpret the existing laws, it might be frowned upon. 

Sports Betting Options

Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing was one of the first legal gambling activities allowed in Ohio. And since the state’s racetracks also allow for lottery-style slot machines, they’re affectionately known as ‘racinos’.

Betting and the Lottery

Good news if you like the lottery. Ohio state residents can try their luck on lottery games, instant games and inter-state games alike.

Bingo Bets

The charity gambling laws in Ohio make provision for bingo games as well as raffles. Take note that the state offers three bingo hall categories, each with their own specific set of rules and guidelines to adhere to.

Tips for US Players in Ohio

Ohioans should keep the following tips in mind when taking part in gambling activities online or otherwise:

  • In Ohio you have to be 21 to play at a casino and 18 to take part in any other form of gambling – make sure you meet these requirements before placing your bets.
  • If you’re going to play at an online casino, make sure it’s a reputable site, registered outside of the state’s borders.
  • Responsible gamblers stick to a budget and don’t spend more per session, day, week or month than their predetermined bankroll allows for.
  • If you’re only playing for fun, and not to win real money, consider signing up at free play online casinos where you don’t have to spend a thing.


Ohio residents can rest assured that they won’t miss out on any gambling fun. With four legalized land-based casinos within state lines to choose from, as well as a number of ‘racinos’, plus various online casino options and fun play casinos, there’s no shortage of gambling opportunities in this state.