Is Online Poker Legal in Ohio?
Ohio, located in Midwestern United States is one of the most populated states in the country, and one of the smallest. This means that there isn’t really a lot of space for vast stretches of ‘nothingness’ like other states. In fact, it is all about the cities here, and that really shows as Ohio has been voted as one of the best places in the country to run a business. In my opinion, Ohio has one of the best regulated gambling industries in the country. Let’s take a little look at their laws as there is a lot to discuss here.
Now, I said that gambling is regulated in Ohio, and heavily at that, however, the legislation here appears to make all forms of gambling illegal. Certain gambling is then given special exemption in law, which of course means that it is tightly controlled. Let’s take a little look at this regulation first. This is the definition of a bet:
“Bet” means the hazarding of anything of value upon the result of an event, undertaking, or contingency, but does not include a bona fide business risk.
“Game of chance” means poker, craps, roulette, or other game in which a player gives anything of value in the hope of gain, the outcome of which is determined largely by chance, but does not include bingo.
“Scheme of chance” means a slot machine, lottery, numbers game, pool conducted for profit, or other scheme in which a participant gives a valuable consideration for a chance to win a prize, but does not include bingo, a skill-based amusement machine, or a pool not conducted for profit. 
Now, in the standard law, taking part in gambling, whether as an operator or a player is illegal and will be punished, although it is unknown how many people have actually been punished when it comes to illegal gambling in Ohio.
Casinos and Live Poker
Subject to regulation, running a casino is legal in Ohio, and you will find them up and down the state. There is also a state-run lottery as well as horse race betting (controlled by a different commission). As a result, there are plenty of places to head if you want to engage in a bit of live poker or hit a couple of slot machines.
Now, the problem comes with ‘social gambling’. As I mentioned before, all forms of gambling are illegal in Ohio unless they are given special exemption. This means that technically, social gambling is illegal. You can get around it however by saying that the law requires gambling to be for profit, and since no profit is made in social gambling it cannot possibly be illegal. It is highly unlikely you would be arrested here anyway.
There is nothing in the law of Ohio which deals with online poker, and thus we can assume that it is illegal as it has not be specifically ‘allowed’, although some people in Ohio have reported that they engage in online gambling with no problems, although it isn’t suggested as it is illegal.
It is likely that online gambling will be allowed in the future, after all, Ohio has a fairly well regulated law at the moment. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this won’t be for a long time yet as currently no discussions are on-going when it comes to legalizing online gambling, and nobody seems to bringing the subject up!