In terms of popularity, Ohio doesn’t get as many accolades as some other US states. However, many cities in the state have made room for the growth of the live poker industry. The success of the game in Ohio is impressive, as is the number of players who enjoy real-money online poker in Ohio.
Regulated online poker in Ohio is somewhat lacking, however.= It is best to enjoy what is currently available rather than waiting for an improvement to the situation. Players in Ohio have access to offshore poker sites that offer plenty of entertainment for the time being.
The State of Ohio does not consider visiting virtual poker halls illegal. It is also safe to say that the gambling acts have never been used to convict players of online poker in Ohio. Federal laws are also mild for players in the state.
The people who feel the heat of legislation in the state are mainly the operators, not the players. So, playing online poker for real money in Ohio is safe.
Poker Sites We Recommend
History of Poker in Ohio
The history of poker in Ohio dates as far back as 1795. At this time, there were many attempts made by political figures to curb the game and gambling in general.
In 1790, a law was passed to prevent every form of gambling. Five years later, another decree was made to prevent tavern and inn owners from keeping cards, billiards tables, and other gambling paraphernalia on their premises.
When Ohio eventually attained statehood in 1803, lawmakers didn’t hesitate to introduce further laws to restrict gambling. The law ensured that lotteries were banned, besides those that were permitted to operate. It got worse in 1830 when it was made illegal to use lotteries to raise funds, and every game perceived as a game of chance was outlawed.
Around this time, many ordinary people greatly enjoyed gambling practices. However, the government frowned greatly upon it. Some people on the lower rungs of society’s ladder also protested against it due to religious or socio-cultural objections. For instance, in 1835, an angry mob of Cincinnati residents approached gaming houses to start fires and execute professional gamblers. However, with the quick intervention of Samuel W. Davies, the mayor of Ohio at the time, the situation was quickly curtailed.
Events like this gave little breathing space for those who wished to enjoy card games. The Ohio River provided a route of escape from the situation though. The Ohio river feeds into the Mississippi and carried a bit of riverboat traffic at the time. Some of these boats became floating gambling houses, catering to the needs of Ohio gamblers.
Among these riverboat gamblers was George H. Devol, a resident of Ohio at the time. His love for table and card games started when he was a little boy when he became a cabin boy on a riverboat after running away from home. It was at this time that George discovered his love for cards. He stopped doing menial jobs to survive and turned his attention to gambling, and he mastered the game in a matter of years. He became a huge name in the worlds of roker, Rondo, three-card Monty, Faro, and seven-up. Things changed when the riverboats where George worked began to fade away, forcing him to switch to playing cards on the railroad.
In the 20th century the gambling industry in Ohio continued to suffer. It was at this time that mobsters began to venture into the practice for profit, setting up illegal gambling dens such as the Mayfield Road Mob’s setups in Toledo and Cleveland. Even though officials in the state vowed to shut down these dens, the mobsters were always ahead of the authorities.
The authorities in the state soon noticed the immense revenue generated by unauthorized operators in the area. So, lawmakers pressed to make parimutuel racetrack betting legal in 1933. Other developments in the century were the establishment of the state lottery in 1973 and the allowance of charitable games in 1973. Ohio’s general assembly moved a motion to give operating licenses to several casinos for commercial purposes. Then, in 2011, it was decreed that racetracks could include video terminal features. Fantasy sports are the most recent additions to legal gambling in Ohio. They became legal after John Kasich, the then governor, passed the bill into law in 2017.
Online Poker Laws in Ohio
Like other states in the US, Ohio has regulations around online poker. These laws can be confusing, and you should seek legal counsel before deciding whether to play poker online in Ohio. Below are some noteworthy legal nuggets about gambling in Ohio:
- Games where a player provides any valuable thing (including real money) in exchange for gain, and where the outcomes are determined by chance are known as games of chance. These include roulette, poker, or craps, but not bingo.
- The law states that people who engage in any form of betting or gambling activity or make it a source of livelihood will be charged with first-degree demeanor in Ohio. Also, previously convicted players can be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This last condition also applies to professional online poker players.
- Section 2915.03 states that no one who is the lessee or owner, or who has custody, supervision, or control of premises, shall use it for betting or gambling violation of the revised code of Section 2915.02. The consequences for such actions are similar to those for the violation of Section 2915.02.
- Persons caught gambling in public places like stores or taverns will be charged with a minor misdemeanor. Offenders with a previous history will be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Best Online Poker Sites in Ohio
One of the best online poker sites in Ohio is BetOnline Poker. It ranks in the top 10 of major poker rooms globally. It also ranks number one in the USA. BetOnline was launched in 2004, and players love it for its fast payouts. It is well-known for having the highest poker traffic in the United States. Its excellent mobile app and reputation have propelled it to top the chart as the best online poker site available in OH today.
Receiving Withdrawals and Payouts
Due to the emergence of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, moving money has become simpler. Players can choose between using this method or the traditional payment methods like credit cards and E-wallets. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining favor because of the minimal fees involved. But before using cryptocurrencies for transactions, you should study how they work.
Where Else Can You Register Your Poker Account Aside From Ohio?
If you want to register an account in a different state, you’re in luck. There are other states where you can register an account for online poker aside from Ohio – these states share a close border with Ohio. Here are a few of them:
How To Choose the Best Online Poker Site In Ohio
To play legal online poker in Ohio, you must sign up to a quality site, or you may fall victim to the inconsistencies posed by offshore online sites. If you intend to play for free, you may not have many issues to worry about; however, if you wish to play online poker for real money in Ohio, consider security of topmost importance. Other important criteria include:
- Gaming licenses
- Excellent withdrawal and deposit methods
- Customer support
- A wide variety of games
- Expert reviews
- Genuine customer reviews
The reason we highlighted these things is so that you will have the optimum gaming experience, every time. Let’s look at these criteria in detail:
- Gaming License: Ensure that every poker site you choose has a license from a respected gambling body. This will give you safety and peace of mind.
- A wide variety of games: You can play online poker in many ways, so it’s best to stay with sites that offer a wide variety of gaming options. Also, stay with sites that give you what you want and constantly follow the trends of the hottest games in the space. Good sites will allow you to play for the stakes you choose. Your chosen website should also offer pot limit, no limit, and Tournaments with your choice of base poker game.
- Banking Options: Make sure you scrutinize available payment methods – the customer reviews will help here. Regardless of the other payment options you may meet on the site, you’ll do well to keep your debit and credit cards handy in case things go wrong.
- Free Rolls and Games: Another thing to consider is whether the site allows you to partake in free rolls or games. Having a hands-on experience with free tournaments and rolls is a way to explore poker gaming software in detail and gain some mastery without risking funds.
Changes in Ohio’s Gambling Market
Notable changes in Ohio’s gambling space began in 2009. Due to the then unemployment rate of 10%, officials decided to permit real-money poker and land-based casinos to operate in Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus.
In 2012, Horseshoes casino, the first live poker casino in Ohio, began operation. This facility has 63 table games and 2000 slots. Its launch paved the way for other casinos to begin offering a variety of games to poker enthusiasts. Today, there are four fully-functional land-based real-money casinos in the state.
In the first year of operation, these land-based casinos brought in a sum of $616 million in revenues and created 6,000 jobs.
Ohio has been welcoming in terms of brick-and-mortar casinos but hasn’t done so well with online casinos and other internet gambling variants.
Other Variants of Online Gambling
Aside from online poker, there are many other games available to Ohio residents. For instance, table games, sports betting, video poker, and slots. It’s always best to look out for quality recommendations made by trusted online sources for sportsbooks and online casinos.
A good alternative to playing at poker tables will always be casino games. Even though many land-based casinos operate legally in the region, they do not match the convenience provided by online casinos, so you may enjoy playing on these sites more than playing live.
There are thousands of games available on these different software sites that promise you an all-around experience. Some online casinos include:
- SB Casino
- Bovada Casino
- Ignition Casino
The Future of Real-Money Online Poker in Ohio
The future of legal online poker in Ohio remains a mystery. There have been encouraging signs though. The most notable is the growth of land-based casinos. The success of these facilities is a good way to begin the conversation about the future of poker gaming in the state.
However, since there has to be strong oversight of real-cash poker and casino facilities, there is little or no will to regulate online poker in Ohio. This is due to the need to channel the revenue generated to the state’s reserve. OH officials trust the land-based facilities to aid the economy more than the online poker sites.
This doesn’t mean that players in Ohio will not have internet poker within their region in the coming years. With the current revenue generated from land-based casinos, it is possible that online poker will be legalized soon.
Are there any legally licensed online poker rooms in Ohio?
There is no such thing as legal online poker in Ohio today. Most online poker sites available to players in Ohio are based offshore.
Is online poker legal in Ohio?
No. Even though the state’s laws are unlikely to punish offenders in terms of gambling, the law is still binding. The good news is that players can still enjoy internet cards, table games, and sports betting.
What is the legal gambling age in Ohio?
Players in Ohio can enjoy lottery games, bingo, and horse races from the age of 18. However, you need to be 21 years or older to play at land-based casinos and online poker sites.
How can I make deposits and withdraw money from Ohio Online Poker sites?
Cryptocurrency has proven to be the best option in this regard. Read about the sites that offer these payment methods and how they work, and keep in mind that traditional methods could come in handy at some point.