As it is in many states, sports betting in Ohio is strictly limited to betting on horse racing. Despite this, after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) from May 2018, Ohio appears to be exploring its options in opening up its betting industry for more sports. Unfortunately, online gambling is illegal in Ohio outside of daily fantasy sports (DFS), which means that legalized online sports betting is about as far off as online poker is. Still, with lawmakers introducing bills in 2019 surrounding changes to sports betting laws, these changes could be on the horizon. In this article, we will discuss the history of gambling in Ohio, Ohio’s favorite sports and how they are both related.
Gambling Laws in Ohio
It has taken a while for gambling laws to evolve in Ohio. For the first half of the twentieth century, gambling was strictly illegal and highly regulated. While horse racing, bingo, and lotteries became legal, it has taken a while for casinos to receive the same treatment. Now, Ohio is home to 11 different venues where you can gamble, including commercial casinos, tribal casinos, and racinos – horse racing tracks that hold slot machines. In 2019, lawmakers introduced legislation that would see Ohio sports betting expanded beyond just horse racing with the possibility of mobile-betting still in consideration.
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Most Popular Sports in Ohio
Ohio is home to eight major league professional sports teams and has a rich history in a number of sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, lacrosse or ice hockey, Ohio fans are always ready to come out in full force to support their beloved teams. Having played a key role in the conception of both Major League Baseball and the National Football League, Ohio always has been and will always be an important landmark in the story of sports betting in the United States. We have chosen four sports with the most loyal fan-base or interesting backgrounds to share in our tribute to Ohio and its sporting legends.
Baseball – The Cincinnati Reds
The more successful of Ohio’s two major league baseball teams (the other being the Cleveland Indians), the Cincinnati Reds have been playing as a team since 1882. As the winners of five World Series games – their last being won in 1990 – the Reds are celebrated in the league for their consistency and respectable sportsmanship. The Great American Ball Park has been their home stadium since 2003 and can hosts 42,270 loyal fans every game. Notable players include Johnny Bench and Pete Rose.
Basketball – The Cleveland Cavaliers
The story of the Cleveland Cavaliers is ultimately one of a long-awaited triumph. Formed in 1970, the first fifteen games that the Cavaliers played were all losses and beyond that, in their first five seasons they hardly fared much better. Although they progressed to the playoffs a number of times over their almost five-decade history, it wasn’t until 2016 that the Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, progressed to win their first NBA Championship. Their home games are played at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. With one of the NBA’s best players of all time LeBron James and star player Kyrie Irving once donning the swashbuckling cavalier jerseys, the Cavs are a breeding ground for pure basketball talent.
Soccer – Columbus Crew
In a country that pales in comparison to Europe with its love for the game of soccer, the Columbus Crew stand out as a team that inspires hope and awe in fans at home and abroad. Formed in 2006, they are first team in US history to have a Soccer-specific field built for them – the Mapfre Stadium. The club has always attracted a varied fanbase, but one story rings true of their shared team spirit. When a portion of the grandstands were demolished in 2008 to provide extra seating at the stadium, the team’s three separate sports groups that were divided by age and class were now forced to stand together for the first time. While some suspected a clash, the groups united to created the Nordecke fan base and put their differences aside. That same year, the Columbus Crew won their first MLS Cup.
For fans of horse racing, Ohio is one of the best states in the US at offering variety in entertainment across its 11 race tracks. Organized racing began in 1908 near Cleveland, and since then, many tracks have come and gone over the twentieth century. The oldest racetrack is the Jack ThistleDown Racino which opened in 1924. It received its ‘Racino’ status after gaming laws changed in 2012 which allowed racetracks to add slot machines and other games. Other notable tracks include Belterra Park, one of the region’s best tracks, and Northfield Park, one of the few tracks that features live harness racing. The racing experience in Ohio is so well-known that gamblers across the country come to visit every year.
Local History of Sports Betting
In an effort to curb the amount of lost tax revenue being lost to illegal sports betting, Ohio legalized and regulated pari-mutuel horse betting in 1933. Little has happened since then in the ways of sports betting, but like so many other states, the repeal of PASPA has seen lawmakers respond with new sports betting legislation, including Bill 111 which was tabled in April 2019.
|1933||Ohio legalizes and regulates horse racing betting. The state benefits off the newly imposed pari-mutuel gaming tax.|
|1975||Charity gambling like bingo and raffles are now allowed to be held by organizations that have been registered as charities for at least two years.|
|2009||A new casino bill authorizes the construction of four new casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.|
|2012||Racetracks start to offer video lottery terminals, turning them in to racinos. The added gaming machines boost attendance at the struggling racetracks.|
|2019||Ohio lawmakers introduce a new bill that would legalize and tax sports betting in Ohio. The bill doesn’t address online betting but is designed to allow for their inclusion easily.|
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Ohio
Horse racing is the only legal form of sports betting in Ohio. Like Keno and the lottery, the minimum age for betting on horse racing is 18 years old. The legal age play at casinos is 21 years old. Gambling under the legal age is considered a 1st degree misdemeanor and is punishable with a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000. See more on the Ohio gambling page.
Sports Betting Age
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of Ohio?
After the repeal of PASPA in New Jersey, many states in the US are moving quickly to legalize sports betting. Eight states have now legalized wider sports betting in the USA, while six have passed bills on the matter. Worldwide, the legality of online sports betting is still a grey area, but as sovereign states begin to see the potential for tax revenue, more is being done about it’s regulation. Bordering Ohio, both Pennsylvania online sports betting and West Virginia betting sites are legal. Indiana has recently approved a bill for its legalization.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
Your gambling winnings are subject to both federal and state taxes in Ohio. Gambling winnings are fully taxable at a rate of 25% for federal taxes, and state taxes are different in each city. In Columbus, a 2.% tax applies on winnings, Cleveland imposes a 2% tax, Cincinnati a 2.1% tax and Toledo a 2.25% tax. For more info, visit the website of the IRS or the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Upcoming Regulation Changes in Ohio Sports Betting Law
If the current move is successful, Ohio’s gambling laws would allow for full-fledged sports betting in the state. It seems as though lawmakers are waiting to see how neighboring states benefit from the changed laws first, before making the next step. A major drawing point for the changes is the revenue generated from the taxation of sports betting, which would be put towards education and gambling addiction prevention. However, as other states have already shown, the allowance of mobile wagering is the most beneficial way for governments to bring in revenue from gaming.