Is Sports Betting Legal in Ohio?

The Buckeye State isn’t The Betting State. At least not yet. Most of the states that share a border with Ohio have legalized sports betting in light of the Supreme Court decision to overturn PASPA in May 2018. Ohio has moved forward at a glacial pace, but with so much potential revenue lost to neighboring states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and soon to be Michigan and Kentucky, legislators are going to have their hands forced at some point.

You’ll have to excuse the state of Ohio for its slow progress on gambling. After all, an amendment to the state constitution had to be passed in 2009 just to allow slot machines and table games. Up until that point, the state had been losing lots of gambling dollars to neighboring states and Canada, but there didn’t seem to be a sense of urgency. The first casino opened in Cleveland in 2011 and now there are four full-fledged casinos and a handful of racinos in Ohio.

While the news is pretty bleak for the time being, there are still options. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “I live in Ohio, where can I bet on sports?”, at least you have an answer to that question. When PASPA was overturned, some adjacent states had already spent months debating and studying the financial impacts of legalized sports betting. Even though Ohioans can’t bet in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, or Toledo, where the brick-and-mortar casinos are located, a short trip across the border to the east or the west is all that is needed to start getting in the game.

Can I Bet on Sports in Ohio?

Is sports betting legal in Ohio? No, but it is in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and that means that you can bet on sports while living in Ohio. People from Cleveland can bet in Erie at Presque Isle Downs at a BetAmerica Sportsbook or in New Cumberland, West Virginia at Mountaineer at a William Hill Sportsbook. They can even go to Pittsburgh and visit Rivers Casino to play in the BetRivers Sportsbook.

People from Columbus can bet at the William Hill Sportsbook at Wheeling Island right across I-70 or at the Caesars Sportsbook at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana. Those in Cincinnati and Dayton can roll over to Indiana Grand in Shelbyville to play at that Caesars Sportsbook. Those in Toledo have a little bit of a drive, but those in Youngstown can play at Rivers, Presque Isle, Wheeling Island, or Mountaineer. There are a lot of options.

The best option will forever be mobile sports betting. Fortunately, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia all offer betting from a smartphone or an internet browser. Geolocation tracking picks up on the user’s location and the user absolutely must be physically located in the state in which the bet is being placed, but you don’t have to be a resident of that state.

For example, the online app for DraftKings went live in Indiana on October 3, 2019 to start accepting online sports bets. All it takes to download the app and set up an account is to be in the state of Indiana. Hop in your car and take a quick drive across the border. If you are an Apple user (iOS), you can download the DraftKings Sportsbook app from the App Store. If you are an Android user, you’ll have to go to the DraftKings website to download the app because the Google Play Store currently restricts gambling apps, but once you have it downloaded, you are good to go. Just sign up for an account, put some money in it, and then start betting.

Once you go home, you will be able to access the app, but you won’t be able to make a bet. Once you go back into the state of Indiana, the geolocation tracking will let the app know that you are free to make your legal wagers.

If you live on the Eastern edge of the state, you can download the Pennsylvania or West Virginia apps, like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and PlaySugarhouse to take a look around and make your bets when you are within the borders of those states.

All of the major sports leagues like the NBA, NHL, NFL, college football, college basketball, MLB and the other sports and leagues like NASCAR, MMA, golf, tennis, and soccer are listed with odds on all of the different mobile sportsbook apps.

While betting online in Ohio isn’t legal yet, it probably will be some day. In the meantime, you can try your luck with the apps and the sportsbooks in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And, hey, if you find yourself in New Jersey or Iowa for business or pleasure, you’ll already have some of the apps that are available in those states as well.

The waiting game can be tough, but Ohioans have plenty of options if they live near the border or are willing to drive a little bit to make sports bets online in this post-PASPA world.

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