Can You Play Online Poker in Ohio?
No, there are no licensed online poker sites operating in Ohio which means you cannot play Poker legally in the State. Ohio is yet to legalize and regulate online poker. Although state lawmakers have been trying to introduce new forms of regulated gambling in recent years, online poker does not seem to be on the horizon.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in Ohio?
Ohio has yet to pass any laws to legalize online poker in the State. There are a good number of state-licensed casinos and the state also recently legalized only sports betting. But without explicit laws to regulate it, Ohio online poker remains illegal. There are currently no internet poker rooms sanctioned by the state to operate.
The state’s current law does not punish people who play poker online for real money. This has led to many poker enthusiasts in Ohio simply seeking out poker sites outside the country. These sites, known as offshore poker sites, are not subject to local restrictions that affect operators in the country. Two of the most popular offshore gambling sites that offer online poker games include Bovada and ACR Poker. But playing on these sites is still quite risky (just not because of the law).
Despite their apparent benefits, MyPokerCoaching does not recommend playing poker on offshore sites. The biggest drawback of these sites is that they’re not regulated by US authorities. Many of them are not held to the standards of fair play and quality gaming as locally-regulated sites.
Offshore sites also tend to be unsafe and unreliable. There have been past reports of these sites shutting down unexpectedly with no hope for players to recover their money. There’s also no guarantee of the safety of your funds and personal information on these sites, which is why they’re best avoided.
Potential Ohio Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in Ohio for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in OH will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in OH, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker Ohio
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker OH will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, OH is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think Ohio would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
The third OH poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.