Prior to placing your first bet, double-checking the legality of it is the right thing to do. After all, you want to make sure that your sports betting experience remains enjoyable, safe, and that you won’t be stepping on anyone’s toes. With this in mind, we’ll be diving into the subject and give you the answers you seek, along with additional tips and things to bear in mind.
The legality of sports betting in Ohio in a nutshell
To get straight to the point, is sports betting legal in Ohio or not? The general answer is unfortunately "no". However, there are several exceptions and workarounds that allow you to wager on sports in Ohio completely legally, the gist of which we’re about to cover shortly. For instance, while no sports betting platform is currently able to establish a legal online presence in Ohio, there is no law that would stop them from conducting their business offshore. What does this mean for you? In essence, if you were to take your business to them, you would not be breaking the law. The need to do your due diligence, however, still remains, as you want to stick to a trustworthy operator and not all of them are created equal in this regard.
Land-based sports betting in Ohio
In general, land-based sports betting in Ohio is not allowed, with a few notable exceptions. One of these are the so-called "racinos", a combination of traditional slot parlors and racetracks all in one. Unlike traditional casinos, however, you will not find any blackjack or poker tables inside, as these are not allowed. Note that, although you are free to bet on horse races while physically present at one of these locations, this does not imply that you are legally allowed to do the same online. The good news is, you can bet away to your heart’s content at any of Ohio’s racetracks (at the time of writing, the number stands at 8). If you are eager to bet on horse racing online, at the moment, the only way to do so is through one of the many sports betting platforms that are hosted offshore. Although no one knows for sure where baseball is headed, the same mantra applies, at least for now.
Daily fantasy sports in Ohio
As luck would have it, the daily fantasy sports atmospheref is quite lively in Ohio, and completely legal to boot. Since 2018, the regulators have been making the moves necessary to legalize the activity and appointed the state’s gaming commission to oversee it. Since then, numerous operators have been able to obtain a license that allows them to have a legal daily fantasy sports presence in the state. If, however, you are not satisfied with the official repertoire of sites that offer it, you are welcome to try your luck with any of the daily fantasy sports platforms hosted offshore.
Sports betting taxation in Ohio
Whatever legal form of sports betting in Ohio you end up choosing, expect the gross revenue to be taxed at 33%. Unfortunately, the story does not end there, and the matter of gambling and sports betting taxation in Ohio can get quite complicated. For instance, if you place a bet in any of the state’s racinos and win, the racino is going to withhold 4% of your winnings (that amount is reserved for the purpose of taxation). In addition to that, you are required to calculate the taxes you owe when filing your tax report. During the process, you will subtract the amount the racino withheld for you. The good news is, you are also allowed to deduct the losses incurred, if any. However, in no case are you permitted to deduct more than you’ve gained for the year. On the other hand, the offshore providers will not withhold anything, but still, you will need to declare your winnings in your tax report.
Why offshore sports betting platforms are a legal loophole
Even though no online sports betting platforms are allowed to establish a legal online presence in Ohio as of yet, there are no rules or regulations that would prevent you from taking your business offshore. Wherever these sports betting platforms are hosted, the local rules and regulations apply, not those that are in effect in Ohio. In essence, this is one of the most important distinctions to make. While these offshore websites and betting platforms may not be allowed to advertise their presence in the state, there is nothing stopping you from seeking them out and taking your business to them. Once again, the task of finding the most trustworthy provider lies on you, so you are encouraged to do your own research.
Despite the general restrictive state of affairs when it comes to sports betting in Ohio, there is a myriad of options through which you can participate in your favorite pastime activity without breaking the law. On top of that, there are many developments in the political sphere, so the legality of sports betting in Ohio likely has a bright future ahead of it.