Ohio Online Poker
The United States often has more questions than answers when it comes to online poker and online gambling in general, and Ohio is just another of the States where online poker is a gray area. No online poker player has been prosecuted for playing on a poker site in Ohio, but at the same time there is no law making the activity explicitly illegal.
Pari mutuel betting has been legal in Ohio for more than 80 years, and as the seventh most populous state it has been highlighted as a potential hotbed of online poker, however no law has been passed concerning playing poker online. But as the Buckeye State motto goes, ‘With God, all things are possible.’
With other states in the neighboring area beginning to regulate land based gambling throughout the 20th century, Ohio eventually followed suit with the issuing of casino licenses in the 1990s. It is legal for licensed individuals to run a land-based casino in Ohio, with activities such as poker and slots allowed in these venues, but the fact that it took a while to put these measures in place suggests that when it comes to legal online poker Ohio will not be one of the first states in the USA to establish a regulatory regime.
The best poker sites in Ohio are licensed offshore, and if you don’t want to head down to one of the Buckeye State’s land-based venues then these sites are your only option. Still, many online poker players have enjoyed these US-friendly sites for some time.
How big is Ohio’s live poker scene
There are a few large-ish casinos in Ohio, with the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland one of the most popular. However while these venues offer regular cash games and live tournaments there has been no sign of any of the major live poker tours holding events in Ohio. That’s not to say players from the Buckeye State haven’t enjoyed live success – World Series of Poker bracelet winner Keven Stammen is one of the more successful Buckeyes in the recent past.
Does UIGEA stop Ohio player from playing legal poker online?
It has been agreed by many that the language of UIGEA is ambiguous at best, and this goes some way to explaining why no player has been prosecuted for playing on an online poker site from the US. Many in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States would agree that far more clarity is needed with regards to the law, either at a federal or a state level.
Could progress in other states encourage regulation in Ohio?
Ohio’s population is larger than that of New Jersey, the most populous state to regulate online poker so far, and one would imagine Ohio lawmakers are monitoring the situation in NJ as well as in Nevada and Delaware. A successful framework elsewhere could be enough to convince Ohio lawmakers of the benefits of legal poker sites Ohio residents can use.
Is there anything else which could lead to progress?
If land-based gaming is anything to go by, the Buckeye State is most likely to introduce new legislation once a number of the States of the Union have already done so. With that in mind, further states joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware could be what is needed for poker legal Ohio sites to take their first real money bets. Until then, the best poker sites in Ohio will remain offshore, ridding Ohio of the chance to make tax income from a regulated online poker framework, with the Buckeye State running the risk of being left behind some of its neighboring states.