How to bet on sports in Ohio has become a very popular search term. The Buckeye State has a very rich tradition when it comes to sports and when it comes to betting in particular. Unfortunately, progress has been slow on legalized betting in Ohio. Progress is finally being made and it seems like Ohioans will be able to start making wagers sometime in 2021, but that doesn’t really help right now, does it?
There is a way for Ohioans to bet on sports, but it cannot be done inside the state borders right now. Disgruntled Buckeye staters will remember that it took a long time for Ohio to move forward with casino gambling as well. An amendment to the state constitution was passed in 2009 and the first casino opened in Cleveland in 2011. Now, Ohio has four full-fledged casinos and a handful of racinos. But, still no sports betting.
The news is not all bad. While the luxury of betting from home on a smartphone or a computer is not a convenience afforded to Ohio at this time, Ohioans can still place their bets by driving over to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, or West Virginia. Something is truly better than nothing, which is what many proponents of legalized sports betting said before PASPA was overturned in May 2018.
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So, while how to bet on sports in Ohio returns an answer that nobody wants, you still have the opportunity to place your bets as long as you are willing to make a little bit of a drive.
Sports bettors who live near Cincinnati! Check out how to bet on sports in Cincinnati
Ohio is surrounded on all sides by sports betting. It might require going into “enemy territory” as an Ohio State fan, but you do what you have to do in order to get access to legal U.S. sportsbooks and that means heading up to Michigan to place your wagers. Michigan has three commercial casinos in Detroit, with a Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown Casino, a BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Grand Detroit, and then a FanDuel Sportsbook at Motor City Casino.
There are also 23 tribal casinos throughout the state and some of them already have partnerships with operators like DraftKings, PointsBet, and William Hill. Online and mobile sports betting will start before the end of 2020 in Michigan and it is a remote registration state, which means that you can sign up from anywhere, but you can only access your real money account when you are physically located within the state of Michigan.
Mobile sports betting is extremely popular in the state of Pennsylvania. This is an option available to Ohioans. The only catch is that you must physically be inside the borders of Pennsylvania to place your bets. Whether that means sitting on a bench outside the Grove City Outlets while your wife shops or stopping at the first rest stop on I-90, Ohio residents can sign up for a sports betting account in Pennsylvania.
Geolocation tracking will ensure that the user is in a legal jurisdiction to allow for access to the real money account on that app or website. In Pennsylvania, BetRivers, DraftKings, Fanduel, Parx, SugarHouse, Fox Bet, and Unibet all offer mobile and online wagering.
Ohioans can sign up for these accounts from anywhere in the state and can fund those accounts to start making bets. Once again, and we cannot stress this enough, you must be in Pennsylvania, otherwise access to your account will be blocked.
If you really want to make a drive or are going to PA for some other reason, retail sportsbooks at Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica), Rivers (BetRivers), and Meadows (DraftKings) are all a short trip from Ohio.
Ah, yes. West Virginia. Wild and wonderful. Wonderful because you can bet on sports within the borders of the state. The options are a little more limited in West Virginia, but they do exist. Fanduel and DraftKings are the mobile operators at present in WV. There are five casinos with retail sportsbooks, including Mountaineer and Wheeling Island that are very close to Ohio on the eastern border. Mardi Gras Casino is northwest of Charleston and in close proximity to Huntington.
Like Pennsylvania, the apps in West Virginia use geolocation tracking to ensure that the user is within the borders of the state and in a legal jurisdiction. Also, Ohio residents that want to bet in West Virginia simply need to get into the state to use the mobile apps. They do not have to be in any specific location, just within the state.
There are 15 different retail sportsbook options in the Hoosier State for Ohio residents. French Lick, Belterra, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Ameristar East Chicago, Horseshoe Hammond, and Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg are among the places that might interest Ohioans.
With a lot of different retail sportsbooks and partners, Indiana is on the verge of exploding in terms of the different apps and websites that will be available. At time of writing, BetMGM, Fanduel, DraftKIngs, and BetRivers are the three that are taking mobile wagers.
Like West Virginia and Pennsylvania, bets can be placed from anywhere in the state. Just get across the border into Indiana and start betting away. Once again, the geolocation tracking will ensure that you are where you need to be. What to know more about Indiana? Read our How To Bet In Indiana step by step betting guide.
Ohio Sports Betting Legalization Update
Ohio is finally starting to make legitimate progress on the legalized sports betting front. Surrounded by states that are knee-deep in revenue from taking sports wagers has finally gotten to a boiling point in the Buckeye State and it appears to be only a matter of time until Ohio joins the ranks of the states that have gotten on board in the post-PASPA world.
One bill in the House and one bill in the Senate are being debated and Republican Governor Mike DeWine wants something on his desk sooner rather than later. Ohio has a rather rich sports betting tradition and you can’t throw a rock at an industry gathering without hitting somebody from Ohio, as the business is littered with Ohioans from the professional betting side to the media side and everything in between. The presence of bookies, in particular in the areas of Youngstown and Steubenville, was a familiar sight throughout the second half of the 1900s and recent research has suggested that Ohioans are flocking to neighboring states to bet.
Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana both allow online wagering and many citizens from Ohio’s border towns have hopped in the car to get across the state line and place their wagers. Retail sportsbooks near Ohio, like Rivers and Presque Isle in Pittsburgh, Belterra and French Lick in Indiana, and Mountaineer in West Virginia have seen financial windfalls as a result of Ohioans making the trip.
For the longest time, Ohio was behind the curve in terms of casinos. The state has had horse tracks for quite some time, but the first full-fledged casino did not open until 2011 in Cleveland. Now there are four major casinos and a handful of racinos that only allow slot machines.
The interesting thing about the two bills going through the Ohio Congress is that they are very different. The House bill favors sports betting run by the state lottery, which has a major hand in the video lottery terminals, or VLTs, in the racinos. The Senate bill favors legalized sports betting in the hands of the state’s Casino Commission. That is also the bill that DeWine prefers.
The ramifications of both bills are worth exploring. Sports betting run by the Ohio Lottery Commission would mean betting kiosks in bars, restaurants, and gas stations. Keno has been wildly popular throughout the state since its inception earlier this decade. That would be something of a blueprint for sports betting if overseen by the lottery.
Sports betting from the Casino Commission would open up a lot more operators. It makes sense the DeWine would support a more competitive environment that would create a lot more tax revenue that could be used on pressing matters across the state. The lottery predominantly funds education and problem gambling programs. Giving the Ohio Casino Control Commission the autonomy to run sports betting would allow for a different kind of allocation of resources and would also bring operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and others into the market.
Most importantly, both bills do include language that would allow for mobile betting. Ohio is a big state and the brick-and-mortar casinos and racinos are close to just about all of the population centers in the state, but online betting has been extremely successful in neighboring states and it would be a huge mistake to pass legislation without online and mobile capabilities.
One last thing that stands out about the bill is that those that prefer the Senate bill have mentioned that the Ohio Casino Control Commission has experience with “skill-based amusement”. Ohio’s reluctance regarding casinos will probably prevent the state from adding an online casino component to legalized sports betting, however, poker has long been viewed as a skill-based game. Perhaps it opens the door for Ohio to get into the online poker industry as well.
In any event, the state of Ohio has inexplicably moved at a glacial pace on sports betting legislation in the past, but the recent figures from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia seem to have heightened the sense of urgency to a degree. One of the biggest selling points in bringing casinos to Ohio was the loss of money to neighboring states. That seems to be a driving factor behind the increased discussion on sports betting.
Furthermore, with a lot of uncertainty regarding the 2020 election, DeWine wants to get something in place in case there is a lot of turnover in terms of the state’s House of Representatives or Senate.
Or, maybe, just maybe, common sense is starting to prevail. Either way, expect Ohio to be added to the list of states with legalized sports betting very early in 2021.
For more on Ohio Sports Betting…
Ohio is making progress and we recently updated that progress that the state is making in its push for sports betting in Ohio. Keep an eye right here at ATS as we will continue to update the legislation and the situation in the Buckeye State.
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.
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.