Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Ohio?

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:

Sports betting has not yet been legalized in Buckeye State.  As such, those living in Ohio can access offshore sportsbooks that operate in jurisdictions where sports wagering is legal.

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Status of Sports Betting in Ohio

The US Supreme Court in May 2018 reversed a law that prohibited sports betting in the United States, thus allowing states like Ohio to begin licensing sportsbooks.  Ohio must first amend its own laws.

Lawmakers introduced House Bill 194. Earlier versions of the sports betting bills would have permitted sports wagering just about everywhere, including in bars and convenience stores. 

Language in amended legislation has since become more stringent.

In May 2019, House Bill 194 was changed to make it harder for laundered money to get into the gambling industry. It also was changed so that Ohio doesn't violate the Wire Act.  The Wire Act is a 1961 federal law that makes it a crime to transmit or promote interstate wagering.

H.B. 194 is one of two measures moving through the Ohio General Assembly that would legalize sports betting.  

Ohio stands a good chance of getting something done this year as their legislative period extends right through December.  This is unique since the vast majority of states end their legislative sessions prior to the summer months.

From Cleveland.com:

HB 194 now specifies it would be a fifth-degree felony on the first offense and a fourth-degree felony on subsequent offenses to try to interfere with a sports betting facility’s submission of reports under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and state banking laws. Rep. Dave Greenspan, a Westlake Republican who is a bill sponsor, said that the laws help the government trace laundered money and prevent it from getting into the gambling industry.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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