Ohio

Sports Betting in Ohio

The history of legalized gambling in Ohio is similar to what we’ve seen in many other states. They made gambling illegal early on, making all forms of gambling ‘for money’ illegal in 1790. At the same time, they made gambling losses unenforceable. They followed up with legislation in 1807 outlawing the private lotteries that were very popular at the time. In 1933, they reacted to the huge popularity of horse racing by legalizing parimutuel wagering.

In 1973, Ohio legalized a lottery with the first tickets going on sale a year later. The Ohio Lottery remains extremely popular today offering a fairly standard assortment of draw and scratch off instant games. In 1975, the state made bingo and raffles for charity legal for the first time. In 2004, the Lottery Commission assumed oversight for charity gambling.

In 2009, an electoral referendum approved licensing of four commercial casinos with one each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Columbus. All four of these casinos are open today offering slots, video poker, table games and live poker. The casinos are the Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, the Jack Cleveland Casino and the Jack Cincinnati Casino. In addition, the state legalized video lottery terminals (VLTs) for racetracks in the state. Seven parimutuel properties now offer VLTs with Miami Valley Gaming (formerly Lebanon Raceway) having the most at 2500 machines. The other tracks offering VLTS are Belterra Park, Northfield Park, Dayton Racing, Mahoning Valley, Thistledown and Scioto Downs.

There has been some movement toward offering sports betting in Ohio. In July 2018, a group of state senators introduced a bill to “express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering”. No specifics have been offered but this does suggest that the interest is there.

Sports Betting in Cleveland

The gambling scene in all of Ohio is getting better and as the state capital and Cleveland is along for the ride. It also has good logistical proximity to gambling options in surrounding states and in Canada.

It wasn’t that long ago that Cleveland had only the state lottery and charity gambling. In 2009, an electoral referendum approved licensing of four commercial casinos with one each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Columbus. All four of these casinos are open today offering slots, video poker, table games and live poker. The casinos are the Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, the Jack Cleveland Casino and the Jack Cincinnati Casino. In addition, the state legalized video lottery terminals (VLTs) for racetracks in the state. Seven parimutuel properties now offer VLTs with Miami Valley Gaming (formerly Lebanon Raceway) having the most at 2500 machines. The other tracks offering VLTS are Belterra Park, Northfield Park, Dayton Racing, Mahoning Valley, Thistledown and Scioto Downs. Scioto Downs—now officially known as ‘Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs– is just South of downtown Columbus and in addition to live harness racing May through September they offer 2,220 VLTs with similar themes to that found in traditional Las Vegas slot machines.

Cleveland has one additional upside for gamblers—the state of Ohio is surrounded by states with a sizable gambling industry. Cleveland is just over two hours from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which will soon be adding sports betting to their casino gaming mix. They’re 2 hours and 44 minutes from Detroit with its three major resort casino properties. That also puts them right across the Caesars Windsor casino just across the border in Windsor, Ontario. They’re right across Lake Erie from a number of casino gaming properties in Ontario. They’re just over 3 hours from Buffalo, New York and even more gaming options.

There has been some movement toward offering sports betting in Ohio. In July 2018, a group of state senators introduced a bill to “express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering”. No specifics have been offered but this does suggest that the interest is there.

Sports Betting in Columbus

The gambling scene in all of Ohio is getting better and as the state capital and largest city Columbus is definitely a beneficiary. Ohio made gambling illegal early on, making all forms of gambling ‘for money’ illegal in 1790. At the same time, they made gambling losses unenforceable. They followed up with legislation in 1807 outlawing the private lotteries that were very popular at the time. In 1933, they reacted to the huge popularity of horse racing by legalizing parimutuel wagering.

It would be forty years before there was additional expansion of gambling law in the state. In 1973, Ohio legalized a lottery with the first tickets going on sale a year later. The Ohio Lottery remains extremely popular today offering a fairly standard assortment of draw and scratch off instant games. In 1975, the state made bingo and raffles for charity legal for the first time. In 2004, the Lottery Commission assumed oversight for charity gambling.

In 2009, an electoral referendum approved licensing of four commercial casinos with one each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Columbus. All four of these casinos are open today offering slots, video poker, table games and live poker. The casinos are the Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, the Jack Cleveland Casino and the Jack Cincinnati Casino. In addition, the state legalized video lottery terminals (VLTs) for racetracks in the state. Seven parimutuel properties now offer VLTs with Miami Valley Gaming (formerly Lebanon Raceway) having the most at 2500 machines. The other tracks offering VLTS are Belterra Park, Northfield Park, Dayton Racing, Mahoning Valley, Thistledown and Scioto Downs. Scioto Downs—now officially known as ‘Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs– is just South of downtown Columbus and in addition to live harness racing May through September they offer 2,220 VLTs with similar themes to that found in traditional Las Vegas slot machines.

Columbus has one additional upside for gamblers—the state of Ohio is surrounded by states with a sizable gambling industry and since they’re in the middle of the state ‘C-Bus’ is equidistant from all. They’re just under 3 hours from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which will soon be adding sports betting to their casino gaming mix. They’re a half hour closer to West Virginia which offers casino gambling including sports betting at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (2 hours and 40 minutes from Columbus). There are several other properties a similar distance from Columbus that are in the process of adding sports betting. To the South, they’ve got the horse racing mecca of Kentucky and to the North they’ve got Michigan with its numerous Native American casino properties.

There has been some movement toward offering sports betting in Ohio. In July 2018, a group of state senators introduced a bill to “express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering”. No specifics have been offered but this does suggest that the interest is there.

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