Ohio Sports Betting

Legal online sports betting and mobile apps in the Buckeye State

Ohio has taken its time with sports betting. Because of this, it’s still not legal in the Buckeye State, but that could be changing.

There is a bill currently making the rounds in Columbus, but residents shouldn’t expect anything to happen in 2020. Despite what lawmakers have said, the holdup in Ohio appears to be declaring which agency will regulate sports betting.

Will it be the Ohio Lottery or the Casino Commission? Until this important decision is made, Ohio sports betting will not be moving forward.

Latest updates on Ohio sports betting

Last updated Nov. 10, 2020

Although bill, HB 194, which aims to legalize sports betting, is making the rounds in Columbus, all legislative movement has gone dark. Following the November elections, a pair of key lawmakers lost re-election perhaps making efforts to legalize sports betting much more challenging.

On top of this election setback, another main holdup appears to be which government agency will run sports betting, the Ohio Lottery, or the Casino Commission.

Ohio sports betting apps

To be clear, there are no legal sports betting apps in Ohio just yet. However, should the powers that be decide it, there most certainly will be some available one day. The ability to place a wager through your smartphone is instrumental in any state, Ohio included.

If you are interested in trying out an Ohio sports betting app, when they become legal, you’re in luck. Most online sportsbooks offer dedicated versions of their app for both major types of smartphone format — Apple (iOS) and Android.

Remote registration

It is still unknown if customers will be allowed to register for a sports betting account from anywhere in the state, or if they will have to sign up in person at a casino.

This ability for remote registration is not universal across the US. States like Illinois, Iowa and Nevada all have required a bit of legwork to get started online. But remote registration is the preferred method if you ask big-name operators like DraftKings and FanDuel.


Geolocation is an invisible border around a state with mobile wagering. This is to ensure that when customers are placing bets, they are doing so in the state of Ohio. The minute they travel across the state line, they will no longer be able to place bets.

The software is actually quite effective. It can detect stationary targets fairly accurately. In fact, you are more likely to be rejected falsely by the software as being outside the state than you are to bypass its checks by playing near the state line.

How legal sports betting might work in Ohio

Legal sports betting works in much the same way as it does elsewhere. Ohio sportsbooks, should they be retail, will function identically to sportsbooks you’ve played elsewhere.

From single-match outcomes to parlays and professional props, the Ohio sports betting industry will have these types of bets:

What you can’t bet on in Ohio

While the official list is still unknown, it’s safe to assume the obvious will be included: no betting on high school sports. Every state that has allowed sports betting so far has had similar language in its laws, and you can basically assume that this prohibition will be in place no matter which states legalize sports betting going forward.

There is a chance Ohio might follow laws in states like New Jersey where you cannot bet on in-state schools. This would be a killer for teams like Ohio State.

How Ohio online sports betting could work

The current bill making the rounds in Ohio does include online sports betting, which is a good thing. Mobile wagering is simple and works the same in every state it’s legal in.

Customers complete the following steps on their phone, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere in the state. The process is short and simple.

  • Sign up for an account
  • Deposit money
  • Choose a bet
  • Place a bet
  • Collect winnings

We will cover the steps briefly below.

How to sign up for an Ohio sportsbook account

Online Sports Betting AppsBy now, most people know how to download apps on their smartphones. You use the same process for online sportsbooks in Ohio. Depending on if Ohio permits remote registration, customers will be able to sign up from anywhere in the state. However, there is a chance this might not be the case. If that happens, customers will have to physically go to the nearest casino (that has sports betting) and sign up in person.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will need to create an account. Each sportsbook will ask for various pieces of personal information. This is to ensure that you are who you say you are.

Information you may have to provide includes:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Cell phone number
  • Address
  • Social Security number (or last four digits)

Next, designate a username and password. The site may ask you to provide answers to selected challenge questions in order to construct an extra layer of security, which is standard procedure.

Finally, there may be an optional box for a bonus code somewhere in the registration area. If our link indicates that there is a code, make sure to enter it here.

How to deposit and cash out at Ohio sportsbooks

Since this is online sports betting, you will need to transfer funds into and out of your account. These funds are what you will use to place bets.

Typical options that you might find for making a deposit into a sportsbook account include:

  • Credit or debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
  • Online bank transfers (similar to online bill pay)
  • Wire transfers
  • Electronic checks (ACH or VIP Preferred)
  • Prepaid cards (Play+)
  • Electronic wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.)
  • PayNearMe (via 7-Eleven)
  • Cash at the land-based casino cage
  • Checks or money orders

Cashing out at OH sportsbooks

Should you win a bet, you will be able to withdraw funds from your sports betting account. Online sportsbooks have to offer several methods for withdrawal, too. However, there are fewer methods for withdrawal than there are for deposits. The simple truth is that not all deposit methods can flow both directions.

You should know, however, that some withdrawal methods are only available if you used that method to deposit in the first place. PayPal and Skrill often fall under this restriction, so make sure to investigate withdrawal methods before you deposit.

Possible withdrawal methods on online sportsbooks in Ohio include:

  • Online bank transfers (similar to online bill pay)
  • Wire transfers
  • Electronic checks (ACH or VIP Preferred)
  • Prepaid cards (Play+)
  • Electronic wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.)
  • Cash at the land-based casino cage
  • Checks

Current sports betting options in OH

As of now, there are zero sports betting options in Ohio. Why? Because sports betting is not yet legal. However, by looking at other nearby states, we can piece together a good list of operators, bet types and locations that might be available in the state.

NFL betting in Ohio

There are two NFL teams in Ohio, and you can be 100% sure you will be able to place bets on both teams.

  • Cleveland Browns: FirstEnergy Stadium
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Paul Brown Stadium

Betting on NFL games is pretty straightforward. Thus, bets that involve game outcomes are easy to host and handicap.

NBA betting in Ohio

Ohio is also home to a single NBA franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

In terms of betting on the NBA, games are similar to NFL games. The scoring yields opportunities for almost any kind of sports bet that you’d want to place.

MLB betting in Ohio

Much like the with the NFL, Ohio is home to a pair of MLB franchises, the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds.

  • Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
  • Cincinnati Reds: Great American Ball Park

Betting on baseball games is a bit different from wagering on football or basketball. Baseball games tend to be lower-scoring affairs, so they use a “run line” in place of the typical point spread. The run line always designates the favorite and underdog as 1.5 points apart, and the book adjusts the odds through manipulation of the payout ratio. In many ways, the run line is quite similar to the moneyline bet.

NHL betting in Ohio

Finally, Ohio sports fans have a single NHL franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets, making Ohio one of the very few states with all four major sports leagues.

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Nationwide Arena

Betting on NHL games is quite similar to betting on MLB games. Much like baseball, hockey tends to be a low-scoring affair. Because of this, sportsbooks have a 1.5-point puck line, similar to baseball’s run line. Both types of lines function in the same manner as the other, and vary the payout ratios rather than the amount of the spreads themselves.

Betting on horse races in OH

The Ohio State Racing Commission was created in 1933 following the approval of pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.

Thoroughbred racetracks can be found in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Youngstown. Additionally, quarter horse races and harness racing also take place in Ohio. Seven of the 11 casinos in the state are racinos, meaning live racing is available on site.

Online horse betting is permitted in Ohio through sites like TVG, TwinSpires and BetAmerica.

Sportsbook locations in Ohio

Since there are 11 land-based casinos in Ohio, that means there could potentially be 11 retail sportsbooks. Online sportsbooks will vary depending on how many “skins” or line-websites/apps will be permitted.

In September 2020, it was announced that Unibet (owned by Kindred) partnered with Penn National Gaming to secure US market access in both Ohio and Illinois. Pending regulatory approval, it allows operator Unibet to pursue licensing after betting is legalized in Ohio.

Potential retail sportsbooks could be located at these casinos:

  • Belterra Park Gaming and Entertainment Center — Cincinnati
  • Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park — Northfield
  • Hollywood Casino Columbus — Columbus
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo — Toledo
  • Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway — Dayton
  • Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course — Youngstown
  • Jack Cincinnati Casino — Cincinnati
  • Jack Cleveland Casino — Cleveland
  • Miami Valley Gaming — Lebanon
  • Scioto Downs Racing — Columbus
  • Jack Thistledown Racino — North Randall

Given the convenience of online sports betting, there might be more online sportsbook apps than physical casinos.

Possible operators include:

  • BetMGM
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Fox Bet
  • William Hill Sportsbook
  • Unibet

Ohio sports betting laws

Since sports betting is not legal in the state, there are no official betting laws available. Once a bill is passed and a regulatory body is chosen, check back for a list of official sports betting laws and regulations.

How big will the sports betting market be in Ohio?

It’s hard to estimate just how big a sports betting market can be, given that sports betting has only been legal for two years outside Nevada. But factoring in a few variables such as population size, number of casinos and major sports teams available, it’s safe to assume Ohio will have a relatively large betting market.

Ohio Sports Betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Ohio?

No. Unfortunately, no form of sports betting is yet legal in the state.

Where will the retail sportsbooks open?

Traditional retail sportsbooks operate out of land-based casinos. Ohio has 11 casinos, which means a possibility of 11 retail sportsbooks.

What's included in Ohio betting laws?

For the moment, there are no sports betting laws in Ohio.

Do I have to live in Ohio to bet online?

When the time comes, you (most likely) will not necessarily have to live in Ohio to bet online. However, you will have to be located inside the state to be able to place a wager.

Can I bet using my iPhone or Android?

Yes — you most likely will be able to bet using your phone. Online sports betting has the potential to be part of the Ohio industry, and operators maintain products that are compatible with Android and iOS devices.

What kind of bets are legal in Ohio?

For the most part, the list of bets that will be available in Ohio will likely resemble that of nearly every other state:

  • Single-game bet
  • Teasers
  • Parlays
  • Totals
  • Moneylines
  • Live wagering
  • Prop bets on professional sports only

Can I bet on Ohio sports teams?

As of right now, no, you can’t bet on Ohio teams because sports betting has yet to launch in the state. However, it’s expected that you will be able to place bets on all Ohio’s professional teams. In-state college teams are still up in the air.

The professional sports team list includes:

  • Cleveland Indians (MLB)
  • Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
  • Cleveland Browns (NFL)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (NFL)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
  • Columbus Crew (MLS)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Will OH sportsbooks offer bonuses?

Most likely. There will be a lot of competition among OH sports betting apps, and a lot of opportunities to grab a welcome bonus.

These take several forms:

  • Free play bonuses: Small amounts (for example $20) simply for registering.
  • Matched first deposit bonuses: Usually a 100% match to your first deposit.
  • Risk free bets: Refunds if your first bet is not a winner (Up to $500 or more).
  • Promos/special offers: It is worth keeping an eye on the “promotions” pages for extra deals.