Ohio Online Gambling Laws
While gambling is an industry of many types, online gambling is a relatively new one. Gambling has long been an activity that took place in the real world, including casinos and lotteries, but the advent of the Internet has made it possible to gamble anywhere, from your favorite bar to the comfort of your own home. Online sports betting is also becoming a common practice in some states.
While some states, such as Massachusetts and Nevada, have launched their online casino operations, others, such as Illinois, have not. Although most state law prohibits any form of online gambling, several other states have acted on their own to legalize this type of gambling. It is important to note that some forms of online gambling are already legal in Ohio.
Among other state laws, Ohio has passed the Ohio Casino Approval and Tax Distribution Amendment 3, which will allow the state to launch online sports betting in 2023. In addition to sports betting, Ohio voters approved a ballot measure in 2009 that allowed for slot machine-like video lottery terminals at seven racetracks in the state. The state has also allowed for licensing businesses for the purpose of providing wagering services.
There are currently 11 “true” gambling locations in the state. These include casinos, horse racing facilities, and sportsbooks. Many of these venues are regulated by the Ohio Gaming Commission, which is currently accepting applications for operator licenses. However, as the Ohio legislature considers future regulations, it is likely that more locations will join the growing list of Ohio sportsbooks and casinos.
Among other things, the Travel Act also governs Internet casinos, so players who use interstate facilities for unlawful gambling activities may face penalties. Also, the federal government’s jurisdiction over common carriers, such as PayPal, means that it is possible for federal prosecutors to slap PayPal with a lawsuit.
Illegal gambling on the Internet is also illegal under the Wire Act, which prohibits betting on sporting events and contests. Section 1956 creates several new crimes related to illegal gambling, such as laundering with the intent to conceal or promote illicit activity, and laundering to disguise the nature of an act.
Several other statutes, such as the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), are relevant to illegal gambling. Some of these laws have been challenged on constitutional grounds. As with any area of state law, the First Amendment enshrined in the Constitution can be a powerful tool to challenge legal authority.
Other federal statutes that are applicable to the legality of online gambling in the United States include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Of these laws, the RICO Act has been particularly effective in cracking down on the illegal gambling industry.
Another notable example is the Liechtenstein International Lottery, which was the first venue to offer a virtual gaming experience for the general public. Since the first Liechtenstein sportsbook opened in 2007, dozens of other online and retail sportsbooks have jumped on the bandwagon.