Is Poker legal in Ohio (oh)? Online Poker Laws in Ohio Explained


Ohio Ohio

  • Live Poker is allowed
  • Sports Betting is allowed
  • Sports Betting is legal since 2021
  • House Bill 29

    House Bill 29
  • Online Poker is forbidden
  • Online Casino is forbidden

Can You Play Online Poker in Ohio?

With the recent opening of state-licensed casinos in the main cities, Ohio has become a poker and gambling hotspot. The state gambling regulators have imposed many rules on those who operate famous online games online. They also frequently monitor illicit gambling operators. Those who break the regulations face a serious penalty.

However, Ohio does not have any online poker laws. There are no internet poker rooms in the state that have got the seal of approval from the state leaders. But, the lawmakers have relaxed the laws to permit home poker games and have added new casinos in the last few years. Moreover, Ohio lawmakers have been trying to add new regulated gambling forms to the state's offerings for more than two decades.

Poker fanatics in the state can play online poker with friends or make use of the best real money online poker sites. Setting up a home poker game online is also quite easy. Players will need to create an account, download the software client, and make sure your buddies do the same. In this guide, we will give a full rundown of existing online gambling laws in Ohio.

History of Poker and Online Poker in Ohio

Ohio State was a hotbed for illicit gambling in the early 1900s. At that time, there was a big mob running illegal gambling platforms. These illicit activities continued all the way until the 1990s. It was not till 1990 that casino legalization was first introduced to the state.

In late 2009, the state lawmakers approved a measure to legalize one commercial casino in each Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo. All casinos became completely functional today.

Horseshoe Casino based in Cleveland and Hollywood Casino based in Toledo opened in May 2012. However, Hollywood Casino in Columbus opened in October 2012, and Horseshoe Casino based in Cincinnati opened in February 2013.

These casinos provide video poker machines, slot machines, and table games that include craps, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and poker. Calls to regulate the OH online poker followed shortly afterward.

In January 2012, the director of the Ohio Lottery, Dennis Berg, indicatedthat the state was looking into online gambling on account of the Wire Act reversal. However, there has been no public mention of any bill or the same initiative to legalize and regulate online poker in Ohio until now.

In 2021, Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 29, a bill legalizing sports betting. Sports betting launched in Ohio in late 2022.

Summary of Ohio Gambling & Poker Laws

Ohio is one of the seventh most-populous states in America. While it has not regulated internet poker sites, online casinos, sportsbooks yet, the state's law officials do not make any person culprit who plays for real money online. Many people believe online poker games in OH to be illegal under the definitions of illegal gambling. However, this has never been tested in the courtroom. Thus, no legal precedents exist to support this belief.

That means poker fans can safely enjoy their favorite poker games online without any worry.
Nowadays, many players in Ohio also turn to social gaming apps. Few of our mobile poker sites offer everything you need to play poker online with friends for free and real money. They ensure that the online poker experience is not just fun but incredibly rewarding too.

As you know, Ohio gambling laws are complicated. That is why we always advise poker players with questions about the legality of online poker in Ohio to consult with an experienced lawyer.

  • Online Poker/Gambling - Ohio has not passed any online poker bill yet. Moreover, there are no internet poker rooms that have got a seal of approval.
  • Live Poker - There are few live poker rooms available in big casinos in Ohio that feature great tournaments and cash gaming action.
  • Casinos - Ohio land-based casinos are legal. But state-licensed internet casinos are not legal yet. However, offshore internet casinos are not strictly banned for the Ohio Citizens.
  • Sports Betting - Although there has been a move toward legalizing sports betting in Ohio after Murphy v. NCAA Supreme Court decision. But it has failed. Individual online sports bettors can easily bet online at offshore sports betting sites without the risk of going to jail.
  • Fantasy Sports - John Kasich signed one bill that was associated with legalizing fantasy sports in OH. This bill was introduced after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision overruling a federal ban on the state permitted sports gambling.
  • Esports - No, you cannot bet on esports in Ohio.
  • Other Gambling Options - Lotteries, horse racing, Pari-mutuel betting, bingo games, pull-tabs, raffles, home poker games

Online Poker in Ohio

Since Ohio legalized land-based casinos, the gambling industry in the state has increased in popularity. However, Ohio law makes all gambling illegal by default unless regulated and licensed by the state, with few exceptions for regulated gambling. It is specifically created to dole out harsh punishments to those that gamble for a living. When it comes to penalties, the state imposes many charges, mainly misdemeanors - for both operators and players.

Charges for running illicit bingo games face the toughest penalties, including several unique offensive charges under Ohio law. Therefore, it's advised not to indulge in illegal gambling because you can face a first-degree misdemeanor charge as per Ohio law. There are tons of social game apps that online poker lovers in OH can try out with their buddies safely.

Is Online Poker Legal in Ohio?

There have never been any laws introduced for online poker in the Ohio legislature. Moreover, there exist no laws that specifically mention internet gambling. That does not mean online poker is legal in Ohio. To understand it deeply, let's go through the different Ohio gambling statutes:

2915.01 Definitions:

(D) "Game of chance" means roulette, poker, or other game in which a gambler offers anything of value in the hope of gain, the result of which is determined largely by chance. However, this does not include bingo.

(F) "Gambling device" means any apparatus, equipment, device, or paraphernalia mainly built for gambling purposes. A mobile phone, desk or laptop computer, or tablet could also include in the category of a gambling device.

2915.02 Gambling:

(A) No individual shall do the following:

● Engage in betting, the game of chance, or playing any scheme or as a big source of revenue or livelihood;
● Acquire, control, possess or operate any gambling device.

These statutes state that you are doing illegal gambling if you are using a gambling device or playing for a living. One Ohio statute also states that gambling conducted for fun rather than profit is okay. All of our advised poker sites and social gaming apps assure fair gameplay, prompt payment, and impressive poker bonuses.

Where Can I Play Online Poker Legal in Ohio?

The major form of regulated gambling in Ohio is tribal gambling. Gambling statutes of OH have never been forced on people who engage in playing poker online. Even at the federal level, the Wire Act does not apply to any kind of online gambling apart from sports betting.

Today, there are numerous poker sites and apps you can use to play online poker in Ohio with your friends. They provide all types of poker variants and a broad range of betting limits. Join any of our renowned online poker rooms or play using social gaming apps. Make sure you read the reviews before depositing your money.

Where Does Ohio Offer Legal Online Gambling?

Ohio permits wagering on horse racing, pari-mutuel games, lottery, and races at legit satellite facilities. However, private, social gambling is allowed in the state. When it comes to internet gambling, lawmakers have shown less interest in this subject.

There are many regulated online casino brands that welcome Ohio players. All these sites are legal, safe, and legitimate. These internet casinos host numerous games from reputed software providers.

They let Ohians play their favorite casino game via the app for free or real money without fear of fines or prosecution. Playing for free is a fun and engaging way to enjoy the game with friends online.

Will Ohio Regulate Online Poker?

Ohio has a history of being slow to legalize gambling in any form. It took proponents nearly ten years to get legalization passed. There have been no robust efforts made yet to legalize and regulate online poker or other internet gaming.

Poker rooms are available in the big casinos throughout the state. As per our analysis, Ohio is not expected to be the next state to implement any internet poker regulation scheme. However, we hope positively.

The lawmakers might watch out what their neighbors are doing and want to join them in the future. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have already passed online gaming licensing laws.

US Poker Laws 2020 - Ohio FAQ

We got plenty of questions about the legality of online poker in Ohio and decided to answer the most common ones.

1. Can You Play Online Poker in Ohio for Real Money?

Online Poker in Ohio for real money is a gray area in Ohio gambling law. The does not feature any law that mainly links with online gambling. The only law that could make a big impact states that every form of gambling is illegal unless regulated and licensed. This signifies that state officials could intervene for playing at an offshore gambling platform if they found you gambling illegally.

Moreover, you will not be legally permitted to play poker for a living. Our best poker rooms allow Ohio players to play poker with friends via a mobile application or a computer. All of the rooms are legally sanctioned, licensed, and regulated by a reputed governing body. This ensures a well-rounded experience online.

Another thing to note is that - it is still illicit for any person to run or own an online gambling platform inside Ohio's state border. Those who fail to comply with it get penalized harshly.

2. What Forms of Gambling Are Legal in the State of Ohio?

Although Ohio features a broad assortment of regulated land-based gambling, there are no legalized online gambling options. Everything except tribal gambling is legal in Ohio. It includes commercial casinos, state-run lottery, and pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. Social gambling is also allowed under Ohio law.

The state also permits some non-profit and charitable organizations to engage in limited gambling for fundraising efforts. You can also participate in non-profit games like fishing derbies, raffles, bingo, and casino games, with the exception of roulette and craps.

Playing poker for a living and in a public area is out unless it’s sanctioned. However, you can play poker at your home or another private place in Ohio using offshore online poker sites. Thus, if you are a recreational player and do not make a part of your overall revenue from gambling, you are fine.

3. Is PokerStars a Legal Poker Site in Ohio?

Yes, PokerStars is a 100% legal online poker platform for Ohio residents. However, they can just play free chips.

4. What is the Minimum Age to Start Gambling in Ohio?

Ohio permits its citizens to gamble on horse races, lottery, and bingo games at eighteen. However, to play internet casino games, you need to be 21 years or older. However, you need to be 16 or older if you want to purchase charitable bingo cards. Players need to be 18 or more than that for creating an online poker account.

We strongly advise you to avoid registering at real money online poker sites if you are under age. It is because any false information will create big issues in withdrawing your profits.

5. Can I Play Online Poker Games on Mobile in Ohio?

Yes, of course. Many Ohio online poker sites are highly compatible with mobiles. Few of them even have fully functional poker applications. For accessing mobile poker sites, you just need to head to the mobile web browser, type the site URL, and start the poker play.

Where is poker legal in the US? Which States can I play online poker in?

Choose a state to find out more about state legislation:

  • Regulation is currently under discussion
  • Regulation has been discussed but no recent movement
  • No legislation