A sports-mad state like Ohio in America’s Midwest, with a population of 11.693million, should be ideal to become a sports betting mainstay.
Among its sports teams Ohio has the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals and perennial college football powerhouse the Ohio State Buckeyes.
But so far the story has been a frustrating one for Ohioans who want to wager on upcoming matchups and events.
It has long seemed a gimme that Ohio would legalize sports betting, but final approval has still to be given…
Is sports betting legal in Ohio?
Sports betting is not legal in Ohio yet, but it is hoped that will change later in 2021.
A bill to bring in sports betting to the locale easily passed in the State House, but lawmakers simply can’t seem to get it through the Senate.
One of the biggest sticking points is around who actually runs sports betting when it comes in. Some favor the Ohio Lottery, but Senator John Eklund is adamant it will be the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Other important factors are how many ‘skins’ allowed for each casino license. ‘Skins’ are sportsbooks who can partner with the casino in question. This could be cut to one per license.
While Ohio muddles towards legalization, several of the state’s neighbours are already racking up tax dollars to help offset the likely COVID-19-driven budget deficits.
Maybe that will be what eventually gets sports betting over the line in OH.
Legal sports betting near Ohio
While you can’t bet IN the state of Ohio, you can bet in some neighboring states. Location-based law can be a beautiful thing. Here are your options right now:
Pennsylvania: Expected to be one of sports betting’s biggest hitters in terms of dollars wagered. Once in the state, you can bet in person at licensed casinos, or online and via mobile apps. As long as you are 21 or older, and not on an exclusion list – you are good to go.
West Virginia: An early adopter, and has land-based and online and mobile app options. The choice of apps is a little limited, but again way better than Ohio right now! The legal age is 21.
Indiana: Another state which offers both land-based sites and mobile and online products. The choice is growing – again you need to be in state and aged 21 or older.
Michigan: Online and mobile sports betting went live in January 2021, adding to the existing bricks-and-mortar sites. You need to be in-state to bet, and aged 21 or over.
Are offshore sportsbooks legal in Ohio?
We’ll say it yet again – offshore sportsbooks who offer their services in the state of Ohio are not doing so legally.
And if you are tempted to sign up with them, remember that you have no consumer protection due to their unlicensed status. A dangerous game in our view.
Far better in our view to look for legal ways to be with licensed operators, safe in the knowledge that Ohio is likely to legalize soon enough.
It would be a surprise if sports betting was not legal by the start of the 2021 football season (September) – COVID permitting.