Ohio casinos are all tribal-owned and tend to focus predominantly on slots. The state is quite famous for its racinos and racetrack facilities, such as Belterra Park, Thistledown Racino or Hollywood Gaming. Pari-mutuel betting is obviously allowed and the state allows some forms of charitable gambling.
Ohio has a state-run lottery. It’s worth pointing out that even though the local land-based gambling industry is fairly large, the local lawmakers don’t seem to be interested in passing any iGaming-friendly legislation. As a result, local online gambling enthusiasts are essentially stuck with offshore iGaming platforms.
How to Gamble Online for Real Money in Ohio
Ohio gambling laws are very liberal. Individual participants of unlicensed games can’t be prosecuted if their unlawful gambling activities can’t be considered a major source of income – and if that wasn’t enough, it’s debatable whether online play can be considered unlawful due to the fact that the local regulations never refer specifically to internet games.
As you’d expect, the local law enforcement officials simply aren’t interested in catching offshore sites’ customers, which is why Ohio courts have never had a chance to settle an iGaming-related case and set a legal precedent that’d allow for a clear interpretation of the relevant laws.
Ohio residents have dozens of iGaming sites to choose from, but only a handful of them are really worth your attention. If you want to avoid wasting your time on mediocre and underwhelming sites, you should follow some basic guidelines before you commit your hard earned cash.
If you’re a poker player, finding a high-traffic site is absolutely crucial, as the size of the player pool influences the quality of cash games and the tournament prizes. If you’re a punter, you should always try to compare sites that you’ve come upon in terms of prices and betting options.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t be shy about opening an account with more than one site, as this will allow you to take advantage of the best odds available for the games that you want to wager on. Finally, if you’re interested in casino games, you should focus on the sites that excel in terms of game selection and bonuses.
Ohio Gambling Laws
Ohio’s middle-of-the-road stance on gambling started to change in 2009 when voters approved Ohio Issue 3, a constitutional amendment allowing the operation of casinos. There are currently four cities within Ohio where organizations can legally own and operate casinos, each of which imposes a different tax rate:
- Columbus, 2.5% tax rate on all players.
- Toledo, 2.25% tax rate on all players with an exemption of up to $2,500 for those filing a Toledo City tax return.
- Cleveland, 2% tax rate for residents of Cleveland only.
- Cincinnati, 2.1% tax rate on all players.
A plethora of casinos have sprung up in each city, but the largest and most popular establishments are the Hollywood Casinos in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo. Gamblers can also find casinos on Native-American reservations.
Bookmaking, which is described as facilitating schemes or games of chance for profit without a license, is illegal and strictly enforced by the Ohio Casino Control Commision.
Owning a slot machine of any model or age without a license is legal within Ohio as long as it is not used to generate revenue.
Players looking to gamble without leaving their home can also use our list of recommended online casinos for excellent online blackjack, roulette, and video poker options.
Ohio Sportsbooks & Sports Betting
Currently, sports betting is illegal in Ohio, but a large push taking the form of Senate Bill 316 has begun to create momentum for its legalization. SB316 expresses the intent of the state to enact a sports wagering bill. Although the bill only outlines the outcomes some members of the Ohio Senate desire for sports gambling, it’s a valuable first step towards legalization as it creates an official starting point for other senators to build upon.
One of SB316’s sponsors, Senator Sean O’Brien, stated that he wants to have specific details in place for sports betting by September of 2018. Given the general public’s positive perception of gambling, the massive increase in gaming locations, and Ohio’s high revenue from casinos and raceways, there’s a high chance of sports gambling being legalized sometime in 2019.
eSports and fantasy gambling
Ohio doesn’t differentiate between electronic sports (eSports) gambling and traditional sports gambling. As of now, eSports gambling is illegal in Ohio.
In 2017, House Bill 132 successfully passed the Ohio Senate by a margin of 25-4. HB 132 exempts fantasy sports gaming from the gambling ban list, effectively legalizing it. Both FanDuel and DraftKings can be accessed while in Ohio.
Gamblers may place bets on horse race tracks that hold permits and participate in on-track pari-mutuel wagering at any legal satellite facilities.
Here are eight of the most popular tracks:
- Mahoning Valley Race Course, Youngstown
- Belterra Park, Cincinnati
- JACK ThistleDown, Cleveland
- Cedar Downs, Sandusky
- Miami Valley Gaming & Racing, Lebanon
- Northfield Park, Northfield
- Dayton Raceway, Dayton
- Scioto Downs, Columbus
Wagering on greyhound racing is currently illegal in Ohio.
Playing Poker in Ohio
Ohio law is flexible when it comes to gambling on games of chance that involve skill, allowing poker players to host small games within their private residence. However, poker tournaments held in the workplace are banned.
Poker has also been legalized in casinos. The following locations offer live poker tables:
- The Hollywood Casino in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo.
- Horseshoe Casino Cleveland
- The Columbus Shark Tank Poker Club
- The Mansfield Gemini Poker Club in Ontario
- The Action Central Social Club in Dublin
Of these poker locations, the Hollywood Casino in Columbus features the most tables.
In 1973, Ohio citizens voted for a state constitutional amendment which permitted lotteries. Since then, the Ohio Lottery Commission has introduced several multi-state lotteries, including:
- Mega Millions
- Lucky for Life
The Ohio state lottery also offers:
- Pick 3, 4, and 5
All of Ohio’s gambling revenue earned from lotteries directly funds the state’s public education system, with gambling revenue making up approximately 4% of the department’s annual budget.
Winners are awarded 50% of the prize payout, the state claims 30-40% of the earnings as taxes, and the lottery operators receive whatever Ohio doesn’t take. The winner must claim the prize money within 180 days. Lottery prizes over $600 are subject to garnishment.
Ohio allows any recognized non-profit group to host charitable gambling events as long as all proceeds benefit a charity. Most forms of charity gaming are permitted.
The two biggest Bingo gaming locations are:
- Rinks Bingo hall in Cincinnati
- The Bingo Connection in Columbus
Ohio Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Picking the right site is the hardest part of getting started – everything else is really just a formality. All you need to do is sign up for an account, make a deposit, wait for your account to get verified and that’s it – you’re good to go.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
The money tied to your account is always at your disposal, just like with a standard e-wallet. If you want to receive a payout, open the cashier menu and place a payout request.
Requests of this type usually take up to 2 days to process – and since most iGaming sites rely on wire transfers when handling cash outs, you’ll probably have to wait for about a week more before the money actually goes through.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Ohio?
18 for offshore gambling sites. Please note that the 21 casinos’ legal age applies exclusively to land-based gambling venues.
How do I open an account?
The first step is to fill out the appropriate form by providing your basic personal information. Once you’re done, you should submit a proof of identity, which will allow you to make the first real money deposit.
Where can I open my account from?
You can open your gambling account from anywhere in the United States.
From where can I access Ohio online gambling sites?
Ohio-friendly offshore gambling sites accept players from all over the United States, so you don’t have to be in Ohio in order to sign in and join the action.
However, you should definitely avoid gambling when visiting Washington or Utah, as both of those sites consider internet gambling to be a serious offense.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Ohio?
If you’re looking for more information on Ohio gambling regulations, you should consult Ohio Code, Section 2915.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
Ohio-friendly sites usually require their customers to deposit via a credit card payment. Visa and MasterCard are supported by virtually every site in the industry. American Express cards, on the other hand, are supported by a limited number of sites due to their low reliability.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
The default cash out method is to use a wire transfer, but most Ohio-friendly sites will also allow you to withdraw via a check by mail.
Is my money safe?
The sites we recommend are perfectly safe. However, we can’t guarantee that every site that you find is going to be equally honest and professional. Consequently, you should be very careful when dealing with Ohio-facing iGaming sites that you aren’t already familiar with.
What body regulates gambling in Ohio?
Gambling in the Ohio area is regulated by Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Lottery.
Sources:Ohio Gambling Laws (see full text)
Ohio Revised Code
§ 3763.01. Gaming contracts void.
(A) All promises, agreements, notes, bills, bonds, or other contracts, mortgages, or other securities, when the whole or part of the consideration thereof is for money or other valuable thing won or lost, laid, staked, or betted at or upon a game of any kind, or upon a horse race or cockfights, sport or pastime, or on a wager, or for the repayment of money lent or advanced at the time of a game, play, or wager, for the purpose of being laid, betted, staked, or wagered, are void.
(B) Sections 3763.01 to 3763.08 of the Revised Code do not apply to bingo as defined in section 2915.01 of the Revised Code or to any game of chance that is not subject to criminal penalties under section 2915.02 of the Revised Code.
§ 3763.02. Money lost at games may be recovered; exceptions.
If a person, by playing a game, or by a wager, loses to another, money or other thing of value, and pays or delivers it or a part thereof, to the winner thereof, such person losing and paying or delivering, within six months after such loss and payment or delivery, may sue for and recover such money or thing of value or part thereof, from the winner thereof, with costs of suit.
Neither this section nor section 3763.04 of the Revised Code shall apply to any business transacted upon a regularly established stock exchange or board of trade through a member thereof whose relation to the transaction is that of broker only, and who actually delivers or receives the securities or other commodity bought or sold in accordance with the rules and regulations of said stock exchange or board of trade.
§ 3763.04. Suit by third party.
If a person losing money or thing of value, as provided in section 3763.02 of the Revised Code, within the time therein specified, and without collusion or deceit, does not sue, and effectively prosecute, for such money or thing of value, any person may sue for and recover it, with costs of suit, against such winner, for the use of such person prosecuting such suit.
§ 3763.05. Action for discovery.
A person, liable under sections 3763.01 to 3763.08, inclusive, of the Revised Code, may be compelled to answer, upon oath, interrogatories annexed to the petition for the purpose of discovery of his liability. Upon discovery and repayment of the money or other thing, the person discovering and repaying it, with costs, shall be acquitted and discharged from further punishment, penalty, or forfeiture, for winning such money or thing discovered and repaid.
§ 3763.08. Recovery of losses in lotteries.
A person who expends money or thing of value or incurs an obligation for the purchase of or to procure a lottery or policy ticket, hazard, or chance, or an interest therein, in or on account of lottery, policy, scheme of chance, game of faro, pool or combination, keno, or scheme of gambling, or a person dependent for support upon or entitled to the earnings of such person, or a citizen for the use of the person so interested, may sue for and recover from the person receiving such money, thing of value, or obligation, the amount thereof, with exemplary damages, which shall not be less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, and may join as defendants in such suit all persons having an interest in such lottery, policy, or scheme of chance, or the possible profits thereof, as backers, vendors, owners, or otherwise.
Chapter 2915 contains the Penal Code provisions on Gambling. 1974 Committee Comment to H 511
The fundamental thrust of new Chapter 2915. is to prohibit the business of gambling without forbidding gambling carried on for pleasure rather than profit.
Under the chapter, all forms of gambling and activities in aid of it are illegal if carried on as a business, or for personal profit, or as a significant source of income or livelihood. Otherwise, no form of gambling is illegal. Gambling in public is prohibited to avoid enforcement problems, and this represents a partial exception to the general rule in the chapter.
Cheating as such was not an offense under former law, but is an offense under Chapter 2915. regardless of whether the gambling activity in which it occurs is legal or illegal. For penalty purposes, cheaters are treated much the same as thieves under new section 2913.02 of the Revised Code. A simplified version of a former prohibition against “fixing” sporting events is also included in the chapter.
§ 2915.01 Definitions.
As used in this chapter:
(A) “Bookmaking” means the business of receiving or paying off bets.
(B) “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.
(C) “Scheme of chance” means a slot machine unless authorized under Chapter 3772. of the Revised Code, lottery unless authorized under Chapter 3770. of the Revised Code, 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. “Scheme of chance” includes the use of an electronic device to reveal the results of a game entry if valuable consideration is paid, directly or indirectly, for a chance to win a prize. Valuable consideration is deemed to be paid for a chance to win a prize in the following instances:
(1) Less than fifty per cent of the goods or services sold by a scheme of chance operator in exchange for game entries are used or redeemed by participants at any one location;
(2) Less than fifty per cent of participants who purchase goods or services at any one location do not accept, use, or redeem the goods or services sold or purportedly sold;
(3) More than fifty per cent of prizes at any one location are revealed to participants through an electronic device simulating a game of chance or a “casino game” as defined in section 3772.01 of the Revised Code;
(4) The good or service sold by a scheme of chance operator in exchange for a game entry cannot be used or redeemed in the manner advertised;
(5) A participant pays more than fair market value for goods or services offered by a scheme of chance operator in order to receive one or more game entries;
(6) A participant may use the electronic device to purchase additional game entries;
(7) A participant may purchase additional game entries by using points or credits won as prizes while using the electronic device;
(8) A scheme of chance operator pays out in prize money more than twenty per cent of the gross revenue received at one location; or
(9) A participant makes a purchase or exchange in order to obtain any good or service that may be used to facilitate play on the electronic device.
As used in this division, “electronic device” means a mechanical, video, digital, or electronic machine or device that is capable of displaying information on a screen or other mechanism and that is owned, leased, or otherwise possessed by any person conducting a scheme of chance, or by that person’s partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, or contractors.
(D) “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.
(E) “Game of chance conducted for profit” means any game of chance designed to produce income for the person who conducts or operates the game of chance, but does not include bingo.
(F) “Gambling device” means any of the following:
(1) A book, totalizer, or other equipment for recording bets;
(2) A ticket, token, or other device representing a chance, share, or interest in a scheme of chance or evidencing a bet;
(3) A deck of cards, dice, gaming table, roulette wheel, slot machine, or other apparatus designed for use in connection with a game of chance;
(4) Any equipment, device, apparatus, or paraphernalia specially designed for gambling purposes;
(5) Bingo supplies sold or otherwise provided, or used, in violation of this chapter.
(G) “Gambling offense” means any of the following:
(1) A violation of section 2915.02, 2915.03, 2915.04, 2915.05, 2915.06, 2915.07, 2915.08, 2915.081, 2915.082, 2915.09, 2915.091, 2915.092, 2915.10, or 2915.11 of the Revised Code;
(2) A violation of an existing or former municipal ordinance or law of this or any other state or the United States substantially equivalent to any section listed in division (G) (1) of this section or a violation of section 2915.06 of the Revised Code as it existed prior to July 1, 1996;
(3) An offense under an existing or former municipal ordinance or law of this or any other state or the United States, of which gambling is an element;
(4) A conspiracy or attempt to commit, or complicity in committing, any offense under division (G) (1) , (2) , or (3) of this section.
(H) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, “charitable organization” means either of the following:
(1) An organization that is, and has received from the internal revenue service a determination letter that currently is in effect stating that the organization is, exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(2) A volunteer rescue service organization, volunteer firefighter’s organization, veteran’s organization, fraternal organization, or sporting organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(c) (4) , (c) (7) , (c) (8) , (c) (10) , or (c) (19) of the Internal Revenue Code.
To qualify as a “charitable organization,” an organization shall have been in continuous existence as such in this state for a period of two years immediately preceding either the making of an application for a bingo license under section 2915.08 of the Revised Code or the conducting of any game of chance as provided in division (D) of section 2915.02 of the Revised Code.
(I) “Religious organization” means any church, body of communicants, or group that is not organized or operated for profit and that gathers in common membership for regular worship and religious observances.
(J) “Veteran’s organization” means any individual post or state headquarters of a national veteran’s association or an auxiliary unit of any individual post of a national veteran’s association, which post, state headquarters, or auxiliary unit is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation and either has received a letter from the state headquarters of the national veteran’s association indicating that the individual post or auxiliary unit is in good standing with the national veteran’s association or has received a letter from the national veteran’s association indicating that the state headquarters is in good standing with the national veteran’s association. As used in this division, “national veteran’s association” means any veteran’s association that has been in continuous existence as such for a period of at least five years and either is incorporated by an act of the United States congress or has a national dues-paying membership of at least five thousand persons.
(K) “Volunteer firefighter’s organization” means any organization of volunteer firefighters, as defined in section 146.01 of the Revised Code, that is organized and operated exclusively to provide financial support for a volunteer fire department or a volunteer fire company and that is recognized or ratified by a county, municipal corporation, or township.
(L) “Fraternal organization” means any society, order, state headquarters, or association within this state, except a college or high school fraternity, that is not organized for profit, that is a branch, lodge, or chapter of a national or state organization, that exists exclusively for the common business or sodality of its members.
(M) “Volunteer rescue service organization” means any organization of volunteers organized to function as an emergency medical service organization, as defined in section 4765.01 of the Revised Code.
(N) “Charitable bingo game” means any bingo game described in division (O) (1) or (2) of this section that is conducted by a charitable organization that has obtained a license pursuant to section 2915.08 of the Revised Code and the proceeds of which are used for a charitable purpose.
(O) “Bingo” means either of the following:
(1) A game with all of the following characteristics:
(a) The participants use bingo cards or sheets, including paper formats and electronic representation or image formats, that are divided into twenty-five spaces arranged in five horizontal and five vertical rows of spaces, with each space, except the central space, being designated by a combination of a letter and a number and with the central space being designated as a free space.
(b) The participants cover the spaces on the bingo cards or sheets that correspond to combinations of letters and numbers that are announced by a bingo game operator.
(c) A bingo game operator announces combinations of letters and numbers that appear on objects that a bingo game operator selects by chance, either manually or mechanically, from a receptacle that contains seventy-five objects at the beginning of each game, each object marked by a different combination of a letter and a number that corresponds to one of the seventy-five possible combinations of a letter and a number that can appear on the bingo cards or sheets.
(d) The winner of the bingo game includes any participant who properly announces during the interval between the announcements of letters and numbers as described in division (O) (1) (c) of this section, that a predetermined and preannounced pattern of spaces has been covered on a bingo card or sheet being used by the participant.
(2) Instant bingo, punch boards, and raffles.
(P) “Conduct” means to back, promote, organize, manage, carry on, sponsor, or prepare for the operation of bingo or a game of chance, a scheme of chance, or a sweepstakes.
(Q) “Bingo game operator” means any person, except security personnel, who performs work or labor at the site of bingo, including, but not limited to, collecting money from participants, handing out bingo cards or sheets or objects to cover spaces on bingo cards or sheets, selecting from a receptacle the objects that contain the combination of letters and numbers that appear on bingo cards or sheets, calling out the combinations of letters and numbers, distributing prizes, selling or redeeming instant bingo tickets or cards, supervising the operation of a punch board, selling raffle tickets, selecting raffle tickets from a receptacle and announcing the winning numbers in a raffle, and preparing, selling, and serving food or beverages.
(R) “Participant” means any person who plays bingo.
(S) “Bingo session” means a period that includes both of the following:
(1) Not to exceed five continuous hours for the conduct of one or more games described in division (O) (1) of this section, instant bingo, and seal cards;
(2) A period for the conduct of instant bingo and seal cards for not more than two hours before and not more than two hours after the period described in division (S) (1) of this section.
(T) “Gross receipts” means all money or assets, including admission fees, that a person receives from bingo without the deduction of any amounts for prizes paid out or for the expenses of conducting bingo. “Gross receipts” does not include any money directly taken in from the sale of food or beverages by a charitable organization conducting bingo, or by a bona fide auxiliary unit or society of a charitable organization conducting bingo, provided all of the following apply:
(1) The auxiliary unit or society has been in existence as a bona fide auxiliary unit or society of the charitable organization for at least two years prior to conducting bingo.
(2) The person who purchases the food or beverage receives nothing of value except the food or beverage and items customarily received with the purchase of that food or beverage.
(3) The food and beverages are sold at customary and reasonable prices.
(U) “Security personnel” includes any person who either is a sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal, township constable, or member of an organized police department of a municipal corporation or has successfully completed a peace officer’s training course pursuant to sections 109.71 to 109.79 of the Revised Code and who is hired to provide security for the premises on which bingo is conducted.
(V) “Charitable purpose” means that the net profit of bingo, other than instant bingo, is used by, or is given, donated, or otherwise transferred to, any of the following:
(1) Any organization that is described in subsection 509(a) (1) , 509(a) (2) , or 509(a) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is either a governmental unit or an organization that is tax exempt under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(2) A veteran’s organization that is a post, chapter, or organization of veterans, or an auxiliary unit or society of, or a trust or foundation for, any such post, chapter, or organization organized in the United States or any of its possessions, at least seventy-five per cent of the members of which are veterans and substantially all of the other members of which are individuals who are spouses, widows, or widowers of veterans, or such individuals, provided that no part of the net earnings of such post, chapter, or organization inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, and further provided that the net profit is used by the post, chapter, or organization for the charitable purposes set forth in division (B) (12) of section 5739.02 of the Revised Code, is used for awarding scholarships to or for attendance at an institution mentioned in division (B) (12) of section 5739.02 of the Revised Code, is donated to a governmental agency, or is used for nonprofit youth activities, the purchase of United States or Ohio flags that are donated to schools, youth groups, or other bona fide nonprofit organizations, promotion of patriotism, or disaster relief;
(3) A fraternal organization that has been in continuous existence in this state for fifteen years and that uses the net profit exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, if contributions for such use would qualify as a deductible charitable contribution under subsection 170 of the Internal Revenue Code;
(4) A volunteer firefighter’s organization that uses the net profit for the purposes set forth in division (K) of this section.
(W) “Internal Revenue Code” means the “Internal Revenue Code of 1986,” 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C. 1, as now or hereafter amended.
(X) “Youth athletic organization” means any organization, not organized for profit, that is organized and operated exclusively to provide financial support to, or to operate, athletic activities for persons who are twenty-one years of age or younger by means of sponsoring, organizing, operating, or contributing to the support of an athletic team, club, league, or association.
(Y) “Youth athletic park organization” means any organization, not organized for profit, that satisfies both of the following:
(1) It owns, operates, and maintains playing fields that satisfy both of the following:
(a) The playing fields are used at least one hundred days per year for athletic activities by one or more organizations, not organized for profit, each of which is organized and operated exclusively to provide financial support to, or to operate, athletic activities for persons who are eighteen years of age or younger by means of sponsoring, organizing, operating, or contributing to the support of an athletic team, club, league, or association.
(b) The playing fields are not used for any profit-making activity at any time during the year.
(2) It uses the proceeds of bingo it conducts exclusively for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of its playing fields of the type described in division (Y) (1) of this section.
(Z) “Bingo supplies” means bingo cards or sheets; instant bingo tickets or cards; electronic bingo aids; raffle tickets; punch boards; seal cards; instant bingo ticket dispensers; and devices for selecting or displaying the combination of bingo letters and numbers or raffle tickets. Items that are “bingo supplies” are not gambling devices if sold or otherwise provided, and used, in accordance with this chapter. For purposes of this chapter, “bingo supplies” are not to be considered equipment used to conduct a bingo game.
(AA) “Instant bingo” means a form of bingo that shall use folded or banded tickets or paper cards with perforated break-open tabs, a face of which is covered or otherwise hidden from view to conceal a number, letter, or symbol, or set of numbers, letters, or symbols, some of which have been designated in advance as prize winners, and may also include games in which some winners are determined by the random selection of one or more bingo numbers by the use of a seal card or bingo blower. In all “instant bingo” the prize amount and structure shall be predetermined. “Instant bingo” does not include any device that is activated by the insertion of a coin, currency, token, or an equivalent, and that contains as one of its components a video display monitor that is capable of displaying numbers, letters, symbols, or characters in winning or losing combinations.
(BB) “Seal card” means a form of instant bingo that uses instant bingo tickets in conjunction with a board or placard that contains one or more seals that, when removed or opened, reveal predesignated winning numbers, letters, or symbols.
(CC) “Raffle” means a form of bingo in which the one or more prizes are won by one or more persons who have purchased a raffle ticket. The one or more winners of the raffle are determined by drawing a ticket stub or other detachable section from a receptacle containing ticket stubs or detachable sections corresponding to all tickets sold for the raffle. “Raffle” does not include the drawing of a ticket stub or other detachable section of a ticket purchased to attend a professional sporting event if both of the following apply:
(1) The ticket stub or other detachable section is used to select the winner of a free prize given away at the professional sporting event; and
(2) The cost of the ticket is the same as the cost of a ticket to the professional sporting event on days when no free prize is given away.
(DD) “Punch board” means a board containing a number of holes or receptacles of uniform size in which are placed, mechanically and randomly, serially numbered slips of paper that may be punched or drawn from the hole or receptacle when used in conjunction with instant bingo. A player may punch or draw the numbered slips of paper from the holes or receptacles and obtain the prize established for the game if the number drawn corresponds to a winning number or, if the punch board includes the use of a seal card, a potential winning number.
(EE) “Gross profit” means gross receipts minus the amount actually expended for the payment of prize awards.
(FF) “Net profit” means gross profit minus expenses.
(GG) “Expenses” means the reasonable amount of gross profit actually expended for all of the following:
(1) The purchase or lease of bingo supplies;
(2) The annual license fee required under section 2915.08 of the Revised Code;
(3) Bank fees and service charges for a bingo session or game account described in section 2915.10 of the Revised Code;
(4) Audits and accounting services;
(6) Cash registers;
(7) Hiring security personnel;
(8) Advertising bingo;
(9) Renting premises in which to conduct a bingo session;
(10) Tables and chairs;
(11) Expenses for maintaining and operating a charitable organization’s facilities, including, but not limited to, a post home, club house, lounge, tavern, or canteen and any grounds attached to the post home, club house, lounge, tavern, or canteen;
(12) Payment of real property taxes and assessments that are levied on a premises on which bingo is conducted;
(13) Any other product or service directly related to the conduct of bingo that is authorized in rules adopted by the attorney general under division (B) (1) of section 2915.08 of the Revised Code.
(HH) “Person” has the same meaning as in section 1.59 of the Revised Code and includes any firm or any other legal entity, however organized.
(II) “Revoke” means to void permanently all rights and privileges of the holder of a license issued under section 2915.08, 2915.081, or 2915.082 of the Revised Code or a charitable gaming license issued by another jurisdiction.
(JJ) “Suspend” means to interrupt temporarily all rights and privileges of the holder of a license issued under section 2915.08, 2915.081, or 2915.082 of the Revised Code or a charitable gaming license issued by another jurisdiction.
(KK) “Distributor” means any person who purchases or obtains bingo supplies and who does either of the following:
(1) Sells, offers for sale, or otherwise provides or offers to provide the bingo supplies to another person for use in this state;
(2) Modifies, converts, adds to, or removes parts from the bingo supplies to further their promotion or sale for use in this state.
(LL) “Manufacturer” means any person who assembles completed bingo supplies from raw materials, other items, or subparts or who modifies, converts, adds to, or removes parts from bingo supplies to further their promotion or sale.
(MM) “Gross annual revenues” means the annual gross receipts derived from the conduct of bingo described in division (O) (1) of this section plus the annual net profit derived from the conduct of bingo described in division (O) (2) of this section.
(NN) “Instant bingo ticket dispenser” means a mechanical device that dispenses an instant bingo ticket or card as the sole item of value dispensed and that has the following characteristics:
(1) It is activated upon the insertion of United States currency.
(2) It performs no gaming functions.
(3) It does not contain a video display monitor or generate noise.
(4) It is not capable of displaying any numbers, letters, symbols, or characters in winning or losing combinations.
(5) It does not simulate or display rolling or spinning reels.
(6) It is incapable of determining whether a dispensed bingo ticket or card is a winning or nonwinning ticket or card and requires a winning ticket or card to be paid by a bingo game operator.
(7) It may provide accounting and security features to aid in accounting for the instant bingo tickets or cards it dispenses.
(8) It is not part of an electronic network and is not interactive.
(1) “Electronic bingo aid” means an electronic device used by a participant to monitor bingo cards or sheets purchased at the time and place of a bingo session and that does all of the following:
(a) It provides a means for a participant to input numbers and letters announced by a bingo caller.
(b) It compares the numbers and letters entered by the participant to the bingo faces previously stored in the memory of the device.
(c) It identifies a winning bingo pattern.
(2) “Electronic bingo aid” does not include any device into which a coin, currency, token, or an equivalent is inserted to activate play.
(PP) “Deal of instant bingo tickets” means a single game of instant bingo tickets all with the same serial number.
(1) “Slot machine” means either of the following:
(a) Any mechanical, electronic, video, or digital device that is capable of accepting anything of value, directly or indirectly, from or on behalf of a player who gives the thing of value in the hope of gain;
(b) Any mechanical, electronic, video, or digital device that is capable of accepting anything of value, directly or indirectly, from or on behalf of a player to conduct bingo or a scheme or game of chance.
(2) “Slot machine” does not include a skill-based amusement machine or an instant bingo ticket dispenser.
(RR) “Net profit from the proceeds of the sale of instant bingo” means gross profit minus the ordinary, necessary, and reasonable expense expended for the purchase of instant bingo supplies, and, in the case of instant bingo conducted by a veteran’s, fraternal, or sporting organization, minus the payment by that organization of real property taxes and assessments levied on a premises on which instant bingo is conducted.
(SS) “Charitable instant bingo organization” means an organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a charitable organization as defined in this section. A “charitable instant bingo organization” does not include a charitable organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that is created by a veteran’s organization, a fraternal organization, or a sporting organization in regards to bingo conducted or assisted by a veteran’s organization, a fraternal organization, or a sporting organization pursuant to section 2915.13 of the Revised Code.
(TT) “Game flare” means the board or placard that accompanies each deal of instant bingo tickets and that has printed on or affixed to it the following information for the game:
(1) The name of the game;
(2) The manufacturer’s name or distinctive logo;
(3) The form number;
(4) The ticket count;
(5) The prize structure, including the number of winning instant bingo tickets by denomination and the respective winning symbol or number combinations for the winning instant bingo tickets;
(6) The cost per play;
(7) The serial number of the game.
(1) “Skill-based amusement machine” means a mechanical, video, digital, or electronic device that rewards the player or players, if at all, only with merchandise prizes or with redeemable vouchers redeemable only for merchandise prizes, provided that with respect to rewards for playing the game all of the following apply:
(a) The wholesale value of a merchandise prize awarded as a result of the single play of a machine does not exceed ten dollars;
(b) Redeemable vouchers awarded for any single play of a machine are not redeemable for a merchandise prize with a wholesale value of more than ten dollars;
(c) Redeemable vouchers are not redeemable for a merchandise prize that has a wholesale value of more than ten dollars times the fewest number of single plays necessary to accrue the redeemable vouchers required to obtain that prize; and
(d) Any redeemable vouchers or merchandise prizes are distributed at the site of the skill-based amusement machine at the time of play.
A card for the purchase of gasoline is a redeemable voucher for purposes of division (UU) (1) of this section even if the skill-based amusement machine for the play of which the card is awarded is located at a place where gasoline may not be legally distributed to the public or the card is not redeemable at the location of, or at the time of playing, the skill-based amusement machine.
(2) A device shall not be considered a skill-based amusement machine and shall be considered a slot machine if it pays cash or one or more of the following apply:
(a) The ability of a player to succeed at the game is impacted by the number or ratio of prior wins to prior losses of players playing the game.
(b) Any reward of redeemable vouchers is not based solely on the player achieving the object of the game or the player’s score;
(c) The outcome of the game, or the value of the redeemable voucher or merchandise prize awarded for winning the game, can be controlled by a source other than any player playing the game.
(d) The success of any player is or may be determined by a chance event that cannot be altered by player actions.
(e) The ability of any player to succeed at the game is determined by game features not visible or known to the player.
(f) The ability of the player to succeed at the game is impacted by the exercise of a skill that no reasonable player could exercise.
(3) All of the following apply to any machine that is operated as described in division (UU) (1) of this section:
(a) As used in division (UU) of this section, “game” and “play” mean one event from the initial activation of the machine until the results of play are determined without payment of additional consideration. An individual utilizing a machine that involves a single game, play, contest, competition, or tournament may be awarded redeemable vouchers or merchandise prizes based on the results of play.
(b) Advance play for a single game, play, contest, competition, or tournament participation may be purchased. The cost of the contest, competition, or tournament participation may be greater than a single noncontest, competition, or tournament play.
(c) To the extent that the machine is used in a contest, competition, or tournament, that contest, competition, or tournament has a defined starting and ending date and is open to participants in competition for scoring and ranking results toward the awarding of redeemable vouchers or merchandise prizes that are stated prior to the start of the contest, competition, or tournament.
(4) For purposes of division (UU) (1) of this section, the mere presence of a device, such as a pin-setting, ball-releasing, or scoring mechanism, that does not contribute to or affect the outcome of the play of the game does not make the device a skill-based amusement machine.
(VV) “Merchandise prize” means any item of value, but shall not include any of the following:
(1) Cash, gift cards, or any equivalent thereof;
(2) Plays on games of chance, state lottery tickets, bingo, or instant bingo;
(3) Firearms, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages; or
(4) A redeemable voucher that is redeemable for any of the items listed in division (VV) (1) , (2) , or (3) of this section.
(WW) “Redeemable voucher” means any ticket, token, coupon, receipt, or other noncash representation of value.
(XX) “Pool not conducted for profit” means a scheme in which a participant gives a valuable consideration for a chance to win a prize and the total amount of consideration wagered is distributed to a participant or participants.
(YY) “Sporting organization” means a hunting, fishing, or trapping organization, other than a college or high school fraternity or sorority, that is not organized for profit, that is affiliated with a state or national sporting organization, including but not limited to, the league of Ohio sportsmen, and that has been in continuous existence in this state for a period of three years.
(ZZ) “Community action agency” has the same meaning as in section 122.66 of the Revised Code.
(1) “Sweepstakes terminal device” means a mechanical, video, digital, or electronic machine or device that is owned, leased, or otherwise possessed by any person conducting a sweepstakes, or by that person’s partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, or contractors, that is intended to be used by a sweepstakes participant, and that is capable of displaying information on a screen or other mechanism. A device is a sweepstakes terminal device if any of the following apply:
(a) The device uses a simulated game terminal as a representation of the prizes associated with the results of the sweepstakes entries.
(b) The device utilizes software such that the simulated game influences or determines the winning of or value of the prize.
(c) The device selects prizes from a predetermined finite pool of entries.
(d) The device utilizes a mechanism that reveals the content of a predetermined sweepstakes entry.
(e) The device predetermines the prize results and stores those results for delivery at the time the sweepstakes entry results are revealed.
(f) The device utilizes software to create a game result.
(g) The device reveals the prize incrementally, even though the device does not influence the awarding of the prize or the value of any prize awarded.
(h) The device determines and associates the prize with an entry or entries at the time the sweepstakes is entered.
(2) As used in this division and in section 2915.02 of the Revised Code:
(a) “Enter” means the act by which a person becomes eligible to receive any prize offered in a sweepstakes.
(b) “Entry” means one event from the initial activation of the sweepstakes terminal device until all the sweepstakes prize results from that activation are revealed.
(c) “Prize” means any gift, award, gratuity, good, service, credit, reward, or any other thing of value that may be transferred to a person, whether possession of the prize is actually transferred, or placed on an account or other record as evidence of the intent to transfer the prize.
(d) “Sweepstakes terminal device facility” means any location in this state where a sweepstakes terminal device is provided to a sweepstakes participant, except as provided in division (G) of section 2915.02 of the Revised Code.
(BBB) “Sweepstakes” means any game, contest, advertising scheme or plan, or other promotion where consideration is not required for a person to enter to win or become eligible to receive any prize, the determination of which is based upon chance. “Sweepstakes” does not include bingo as authorized under this chapter, pari-mutuel wagering as authorized by Chapter 3769. of the Revised Code, lotteries conducted by the state lottery commission as authorized by Chapter 3770. of the Revised Code, and casino gaming as authorized by Chapter 3772. of the Revised Code.
§ 2915.02 Gambling.
(A) No person shall do any of the following:
(1) Engage in bookmaking, or knowingly engage in conduct that facilitates bookmaking;
(2) Establish, promote, or operate or knowingly engage in conduct that facilitates any game of chance conducted for profit or any scheme of chance;
(3) Knowingly procure, transmit, exchange, or engage in conduct that facilitates the procurement, transmission, or exchange of information for use in establishing odds or determining winners in connection with bookmaking or with any game of chance conducted for profit or any scheme of chance;
(4) Engage in betting or in playing any scheme or game of chance as a substantial source of income or livelihood;
(5) Conduct, or participate in the conduct of, a sweepstakes with the use of a sweepstakes terminal device at a sweepstakes terminal device facility and either:
(a) Give to another person any item described in division (VV)(1), (2), (3), or (4) of section 2915.01 of the Revised Code as a prize for playing or participating in a sweepstakes; or
(b) Give to another person any merchandise prize, or a redeemable voucher for a merchandise prize, the wholesale value of which is in excess of ten dollars and which is awarded as a single entry for playing or participating in a sweepstakes. Redeemable vouchers shall not be redeemable for a merchandise prize that has a wholesale value of more than ten dollars.
(6) Conduct, or participate in the conduct of, a sweepstakes with the use of a sweepstakes terminal device at a sweepstakes terminal device facility without first obtaining a current annual “certificate of registration” from the attorney general as required by division (F) of this section;
(7) With purpose to violate division (A)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), or (6) of this section, acquire, possess, control, or operate any gambling device.
(B) For purposes of division (A)(1) of this section, a person facilitates bookmaking if the person in any way knowingly aids an illegal bookmaking operation, including, without limitation, placing a bet with a person engaged in or facilitating illegal bookmaking. For purposes of division (A)(2) of this section, a person facilitates a game of chance conducted for profit or a scheme of chance if the person in any way knowingly aids in the conduct or operation of any such game or scheme, including, without limitation, playing any such game or scheme.
(C) This section does not prohibit conduct in connection with gambling expressly permitted by law.
(D) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Games of chance, if all of the following apply:
(a) The games of chance are not craps for money or roulette for money.
(b) The games of chance are conducted by a charitable organization that is, and has received from the internal revenue service a determination letter that is currently in effect, stating that the organization is, exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(c) The games of chance are conducted at festivals of the charitable organization that are conducted not more than a total of five days a calendar year, and are conducted on premises owned by the charitable organization for a period of no less than one year immediately preceding the conducting of the games of chance, on premises leased from a governmental unit, or on premises that are leased from a veteran’s or fraternal organization and that have been owned by the lessor veteran’s or fraternal organization for a period of no less than one year immediately preceding the conducting of the games of chance.
A charitable organization shall not lease premises from a veteran’s or fraternal organization to conduct a festival described in division (D)(1)(c) of this section if the veteran’s or fraternal organization already has leased the premises twelve times during the preceding year to charitable organizations for that purpose. If a charitable organization leases premises from a veteran’s or fraternal organization to conduct a festival described in division (D)(1)(c) of this section, the charitable organization shall not pay a rental rate for the premises per day of the festival that exceeds the rental rate per bingo session that a charitable organization may pay under division (B)(1) of section 2915.09 of the Revised Code when it leases premises from another charitable organization to conduct bingo games.
(d) All of the money or assets received from the games of chance after deduction only of prizes paid out during the conduct of the games of chance are used by, or given, donated, or otherwise transferred to, any organization that is described in subsection 509(a)(1), 509(a)(2), or 509(a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is either a governmental unit or an organization that is tax exempt under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(e) The games of chance are not conducted during, or within ten hours of, a bingo game conducted for amusement purposes only pursuant to section 2915.12 of the Revised Code.
No person shall receive any commission, wage, salary, reward, tip, donation, gratuity, or other form of compensation, directly or indirectly, for operating or assisting in the operation of any game of chance.
(2) Any tag fishing tournament operated under a permit issued under section 1533.92 of the Revised Code, as “tag fishing tournament” is defined in section 1531.01 of the Revised Code;
(3) Bingo conducted by a charitable organization that holds a license issued under section 2915.08 of the Revised Code.
(E) Division (D) of this section shall not be construed to authorize the sale, lease, or other temporary or permanent transfer of the right to conduct games of chance, as granted by that division, by any charitable organization that is granted that right.
(F) Any person desiring to conduct, or participate in the conduct of, a sweepstakes with the use of a sweepstakes terminal device at a sweepstakes terminal device facility shall first register with the office of the attorney general and obtain an annual certificate of registration by providing a filing fee of two hundred dollars and all information as required by rule adopted under division (H) of this section. Not later than the tenth day of each month, each sweepstakes terminal device operator shall file a sweepstakes terminal device monthly report with the attorney general and provide a filing fee of fifty dollars and all information required by rule adopted under division (H) of this section. All information provided to the attorney general under this division shall be available to law enforcement upon request.
(G) A person may apply to the attorney general, on a form prescribed by the attorney general, for a certificate of compliance that the person is not operating a sweepstakes terminal device facility. The form shall require the person to include the address of the business location where sweepstakes terminal devices will be used and to make the following certifications:
(1) That the person will not use more than two sweepstakes terminal devices at the business location;
(2) That the retail value of sweepstakes prizes to be awarded at the business location using sweepstakes terminal devices during a reporting period will be less than three per cent of the gross revenue received at the business location during the reporting period;
(3) That no other form of gaming except lottery ticket sales as authorized under Chapter 3770. of the Revised Code will be conducted at the business location or in an adjoining area of the business location;
(4) That any sweepstakes terminal device at the business location will not allow any deposit of any money, coin, or token, or the use of any credit card, debit card, prepaid card, or any other method of similar payment to be used, directly or indirectly, to participate in a sweepstakes;
(5) That notification of any prize will not take place on the same day as a participant’s sweepstakes entry; and
(6) That the person consents to provide any other information to the attorney general as required by rule adopted under division (H) of this section.
The filing fee for a certificate of compliance is two hundred fifty dollars. The attorney general may charge up to an additional two hundred fifty dollars for reasonable expenses resulting from any investigation related to an application for a certificate of compliance.
A certificate of compliance is effective for one year. The certificate holder may reapply for a certificate of compliance. A person issued a certificate of compliance shall file semiannual reports with the attorney general stating the number of sweepstakes terminal devices at the business location and that the retail value of prizes awarded at the business location using sweepstakes terminal devices is less than three per cent of the gross revenue received at the business location.
(H) The attorney general shall adopt rules setting forth:
(1) The required information to be submitted by persons conducting a sweepstakes with the use of a sweepstakes terminal device at a sweepstakes terminal device facility as described in division (F) of this section; and
(2) The requirements pertaining to a certificate of compliance under division (G) of this section, which shall provide for a person to file a consolidated application and a consolidated semiannual report if a person has more than one business location.
The attorney general shall issue a certificate of registration or a certificate of compliance to all persons who have successfully satisfied the applicable requirements of this section. The attorney general shall post online a registry of all properly registered and certified sweepstakes terminal device operators.
(I) The attorney general may refuse to issue an annual certificate of registration or certificate of compliance to any person or, if one has been issued, the attorney general may revoke a certificate of registration or a certificate of compliance if the applicant has provided any information to the attorney general as part of a registration, certification, monthly report, semiannual report, or any other information that is materially false or misleading, or if the applicant or any officer, partner, or owner of five per cent or more interest in the applicant has violated any provision of this chapter.
(J) The attorney general may take any necessary and reasonable action to determine a violation of this chapter, including requesting documents and information, performing inspections of premises, or requiring the attendance of any person at an examination under oath.
(K) Whoever violates this section is guilty of gambling, a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the offender previously has been convicted of any gambling offense, gambling is a felony of the fifth degree. Notwithstanding this division, failing to file a sweepstakes terminal device monthly report as required by division (F) of this section or the semiannual report required by division (G) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
§ 2915.04 Public gaming.
(A) No person, while at a hotel, restaurant, tavern, store, arena, hall, or other place of public accommodation, business, amusement, or resort shall make a bet or play any game of chance or scheme of chance.
(B) No person, being the owner or lessee, or having custody, control, or supervision, of a hotel, restaurant, tavern, store, arena, hall, or other place of public accommodation, business, amusement, or resort shall recklessly permit those premises to be used or occupied in violation of division (A) of this section.
(C) Divisions (A) and (B) of this section do not prohibit conduct in connection with gambling expressly permitted by law.
(D) Whoever violates this section is guilty of public gaming. Except as otherwise provided in this division, public gaming is a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of any gambling offense, public gaming is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(E) Premises used or occupied in violation of division (B) of this section constitute a nuisance subject to abatement under Chapter 3767. of the Revised Code.
§ 2915.05 Cheating, corrupting sports.
(A) No person, with purpose to defraud or knowing that the person is facilitating a fraud, shall engage in conduct designed to corrupt the outcome of any of the following:
(1) The subject of a bet;
(2) A contest of knowledge, skill, or endurance that is not an athletic or sporting event;
(3) A scheme or game of chance;
(B) No person shall knowingly do any of the following:
(1) Offer, give, solicit, or accept anything of value to corrupt the outcome of an athletic or sporting event;
(2) Engage in conduct designed to corrupt the outcome of an athletic or sporting event.
(C) (1) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of cheating. Except as otherwise provided in this division, cheating is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the potential gain from the cheating is five hundred dollars or more or if the offender previously has been convicted of any gambling offense or of any theft offense, as defined in section 2913.01 of the Revised Code, cheating is a felony of the fifth degree.
(2) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is guilty of corrupting sports. Corrupting sports is a felony of the fifth degree on a first offense and a felony of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense
§ 2915.07 Conducting illegal bingo.
(A) No person, except a charitable organization that has obtained a license pursuant to section 2915.08 of the Revised Code, shall conduct or advertise bingo. This division does not apply to a raffle that a charitable organization conducts or advertises.
(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of conducting illegal bingo, a felony of the fourth degree.