Will Ohio Legalize Online Casino Gaming Soon?

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A general view as fans gather outside Quicken Loans Arena before a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

While Ohio operators and lawmakers explore the possibility of legalizing online casinos, iGaming remains prohibited. Currently, the state offers gambling at retail locations and racinos, along with online sports betting, which has been available since last year.

Legalizing online casinos would require a constitutional change through a people’s vote.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission and members of the Sports Betting Alliance discussed the potential at a recent meeting. The meeting was not open to the public, but the written transcript reveals that Jeff Facemyer, an assistant to Representative Jay Edwards, the head of the commission, said lawmakers need more time to study iGaming.

“The members were pretty uninformed about what iGaming is, so the SBA was informative on what it encompasses as well as the kind of revenue iGaming is bringing to states similar to Ohio,” Facemyer said. “I think those were questions from the committee and what increases are seen in problem gambling when iGaming is implemented.”

What Options Do Ohioans Have for iGaming?

Beyond casinos and racinos, Ohioans can explore online social and sweepstakes casinos. These platforms offer virtual slots and video table games using virtual currencies instead of real money. Some sites even allow players to redeem winnings for cash prizes. Several popular social and sweepstakes casinos welcome players from Ohio.

Ohio residents can also place online casino bets by visiting neighboring states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia where iGaming is legal.

Additionally, there’s potential for modernizing Ohio’s racinos by introducing electronic and live table games, which are currently only available in person at the state’s four casinos.

Why Online Casinos Are Bound To Happen Soon in Ohio

An American Gaming Association study estimated that Ohio’s illegal iGaming market equates to $621 million annually in gross gaming revenue.

Legalizing online casinos in Ohio could generate annual tax revenue ranging from $205 million to $410 million, according to the SBA. A study by Vixio and Light & Wonder estimates that Ohio online casinos would yield $255 million in tax revenue annually, based on the state’s 20% tax rate for online sports betting.

On top of that, the regulatory framework and technology for online casinos already exist in Ohio with online sports betting, which launched in 2023.

During the meeting between the OCCC and the SBA, Charmaine Hogan, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Playtech, stressed that regulated iGaming can significantly aid in identifying and assisting individuals with problem gambling. To achieve this, operators must utilize data-driven technologies to proactively prevent harm. By employing player analytics, they can detect problematic gambling patterns early and offer personalized interventions based on observed behavior.

While the success of sports betting leading to Ohio online casinos remains speculative, once lawmakers and citizens witness the revenue generated by sports betting, other forms of online gambling may soon follow.