Ohio Gambling Laws

Ohio Industri of Casino

Did you know that Ohio was one of the last states to legalize casino gambling in the US? Though this state has a long history of horse racing that goes way back to 1933, the casinos were actually legalized not so long ago, in 2012.

So, what happened? Though Ohio authorities were initially pretty strict and certain that all forms of gambling would be forbidden in the state, the economy suffered. It was mainly because the tourists and other visitors to the country went to the neighboring states instead. With that, Ohio started realizing that there is a lot of profit in casino games, though they still weren’t happy about it.

However, a variety of games of chance started to build a path in this state and acquire attention from the players. The next step was legalizing the Bingo game, but the charitable version is the only form of Bingo that is allowed. Lottery is only permitted as a charitable activity in Ohio, and it does not seem like it will change any time soon. It is regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission, which is a separate regulatory body regarding these matters.

The main reason for legalizing casinos was the fear of losing any more business to the neighboring states. Today, casino activities are strictly regulated — the legal age limit to enter is 21, while for the lottery and other forms of charitable gaming, that limit is 18.

From The Earliest History

From the era of the Booming Mississippi, this state was on bad terms with all forms of gambling. The lottery was banned quite early to prevent Ohio from joining the notorious group of other states which were corrupted by gambling issues at the time.

When horse racing became legal, the industry started to grow and bring in quite an amount of cash to the state. Today, however, horse racing is the only allowed version of online gambling in Ohio.

However, casinos had a lot rockier path. Especially since there weren’t any tribal casinos, the players had to travel to West Virginia and Indiana to enjoy a round or two of poker, craps, roulette, or another game that captured their hearts.

Eventually, in 2009, the state gave exclusive licenses to 4 major casinos in the big cities. From then on, the investments in these kinds of establishments kept coming in, which encouraged the state to rethink the strict forbiddance of the casino gaming industry.

Further along the line, in 2010 the state of Ohio permitted the use of any “skill-based amusement machine,” and these are given special attention, regulation wise.

What Is Allowed?

Today, there are 11 casinos in total in the entire state, while 4 of them are also resorts. They are located in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. The other ones are mainly based on race tracks. On the other hand, lottery is forbidden in any form, besides for charity. Also, poker was once included in this group of charitable games but it is no longer considered a good way to collect donations for charity. When it comes to lottery tickets, you can get them in most convenience stores.

In casinos, you can find all your favorites, from slot machines to various card games. Live poker is also extremely popular in Ohio, with many passionate players enjoying the best of these games in the nearest casinos.

The Word Of the Law

The gaming law in Ohio is quite strict in this area — all of your doubts will be resolved in the prompt and efficient manner by checking the statute of the state, as well as other important documents dealing with gambling.

Bingo is strictly forbidden in the state as a part of the casino gaming library. Bingo is not considered to be a “game of chance,” rather a scheme or a game of skill. Ohio defines a game of chance as a game in which the outcome “is determined largely by chance, but does not include bingo.”

Bingo and raffles can exist for charitable purposes. In this regard, an organization needs to exist for two years before getting a license, and there is a limit on the prize for a bingo session, which is $6,000. For raffles, charities do not need a license. Bingo and lottery are permitted only to the fraternal, religious, veteran and rescue organizations. The poker tournaments were also a part of this but were later banned, with the last one occurring in 2013.

And Many Outlaws

Still, no matter how strong the law is in a certain area, there is always going to be someone attempting to break it for their own advantage. Ohio gambling is no difference, despite strict terms and documents that the state has provided over the years.

Namely, one of the bigger busts of the state police was in 2013, when the owner of a casino was arrested for running an illegal poker game regularly at his club. He was facing up to 5 years in jail.

After the victory in a tough battle for legalizing casinos, four of them were open in Ohio. Coincidentally, not so long after, all of them were caught in a roulette fraud. All of the casinos were practicing less than legal activities, such as palming the chips in the restroom between the games. In this case, 13 people were arrested and brought to justice.

The most memorable case there is in Ohio was regarding a client of a casino who won a little above $35,000 in his casino endeavor. However, he was lately robbed in his home, and then sued the casino, claiming they refused to write him a check, giving him cash instead. Also, he claimed that the casino revealed his address to other players.

Another one, which was more of a mishap than a case for the authorities, is regarding the Cincinnati casino accidentally rewarding the wrong person $1 million on their loyalty card! This was an honest mistake since both players had the same name, but still, the damage was already done, and a pretty big one, at that.

What’s Next?

Ohio definitely has a lot of potential for developing the gaming industry, but that road is still far ahead. Though the state was initially firmly against any sort of gambling, the profit that came from it in other states was undeniable. So, the state of Ohio decided to become a part of it, but impose strict regulations. Despite that, there are still some cases in which the players tried to get past them, hence getting blacklisted by both casinos and the state, facing charges.