Are you looking for information regarding land-based and online gambling in the state of Ohio? If so, read this page for a full breakdown on gambling options in Ohio. We’ll tell you what the four large land-based casinos are and what your online casino options are. We’ll also cover the gambling legislation and taxation in Ohio.
The key things you’ll find on this page are:
Today, Ohio players have a relatively good situation as the state has land-based casinos, racinos and poker rooms, and sports betting was recently legalized too. What yet remains unregulated is online gambling – except for sports betting – but when it comes to land-based gambling, Ohio players can be happy with what’s on offer. There is no really large casino resort here, it’s just that there are four relatively decent casinos scattered across the state.
The three largest cities in Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – each have their own single land-based casino, and there’s an additional one in Toledo that actually caters to players from Detroit, Michigan.
This setup was carefully chosen by the authorities and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, as these four casinos fulfill the gambling needs of Ohio players who prefer land-based gambling. There are also seven racinos that are permitted to offer VLTs and that, of course, also offer parimutuel horse racing betting.
There are eight live poker rooms, four of which are actually inside the four licensed casinos. The remaining four are stand-alone venues in Ontario, West Chester, Columbus and Dayton. The cardrooms have 8-9 tables each while each of the casinos has over 30. Poker players in Ohio are therefore in a particularly good situation compared to some other states, though online poker remains unregulated.
Jack Entertainment, that operates casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland as well as the Jack Thistledown Racino, is a local brand that only does its business in the state of Ohio. The company started as Rock Gaming, and initially partnered with Caesars, but got powerful enough to change the name to Jack Entertainment in 2016 and start doing business alone. From 2018 to 2020, the company sold its casinos to other companies, though most retained the Jack name. The Cincinnati casino rebranded as Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.
Penn Entertainment is a much larger operator that has 43 properties in 20 states, under brands that include Hollywood Casino, Ameristar and Boomtown. Penn made the news in late 2023 as all their sportsbooks will be rebranded as ESPN BET, and Penn will pay $1.5b in cash over the next 10 years.
So, when Ohio players visit a land-based casino, it is either a Penn casino, a Hard Rock casino, or a local Jack casino or a racino. In the future, it’s unlikely that any new casinos will be constructed so we could see some more ownership changes and rebrands as the existing casinos switch hands.
Until recently, gambling in Ohio was limited to parimutuel horse racing, lottery and bingo, and it’s been that way for over 40 years. However, in 2009 the construction of land-based casinos was authorized as everyone realized that Ohio residents were spending their money on gambling in neighbouring states of Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In 2012, no casino was built in Ohio just yet, but the racetracks were allowed to install VLTs, and this is how land-based gambling in Ohio started. Today, there are seven racinos that are permitted to have VLTs, and four large casinos that are allowed to offer slots and table games.
The two casinos are ran by the Hollywood brand, operated by Penn Entertainment, and those would be the Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo, while two are/were operated by Jack Entertainment – the Jack Cincinnati Casino and the Jack Cleveland Casino. The Cincinnati casino is undergoing a rebrand to Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati following the sale.
Sports betting was legalized after two years of legal battle and online sportsbooks went live on 1 January 2023. Although the local casinos and racinos were expected to be at the forefront as they were initially allowed to partner up with third-party sites, it turned out that the large brands such as BetMGM and Caesars stole the show.
While online sports betting is regulated, other forms of online gambling such as casino games and poker aren’t regulated yet.
Columbus residents have a casino on the east edge of town they can visit anytime, though it will likely be a planned visit as most people will have to commute to get to the casino. It’s a large casino operated by Penn Entertainment, and we can consider it a resort type of casino, as opposed to the downtown casino in Cleveland that has no hotels or event space.
Hollywood Casino Columbus is a large casino located on the outskirts of Columbus, which may be a bit of a problem as you have to commute, but on the other hand it allows the casino to be much larger than, for example, the casino in downtown Cleveland. At time of writing, Penn Entertainment is constructing a 180-room hotel that’s attached to the existing property and will include new options for food and drinks. The Hollywood Casino Columbus is particularly interesting to poker players, as the only 34-table poker room in Columbus has Omaha, Texas Hold’em poker and much more. There are also over 2,000 slots and 70 table games to choose from. It must be noted, the Toledo casino, that is also a Hollywood Casino brand, is almost exactly the same, both in terms of games available, the gaming space, and everything else.
There is only one casino in Cleveland and it should probably be enough for everything a Cleveland gambler might need. The location couldn’t be better as it’s actually in the Tower City Center, right next to Public Square, the central plaza of downtown Cleveland.
Jack Cleveland Casino, formerly Horseshoe Cleveland from the time of partnership with Caesars, is a large casino in downtown Cleveland that’s owned by Vici Properties and operated by Jack Entertainment. The casino opened in May 2012. It offers slot machines, table games and poker, but there is no sportsbook or racetrack. There is no hotel either as the space is very limited, so Jack Cleveland Casino partnered with nearby hotels such as Renaissance or Ritz-Carlton. Same is true for dining options as the casino has very few, so it partnered with nearly a dozen nearby restaurants to provide the dining services. This is truly one-of-a-kind casino that is a local brand, too, so whenever you’re in downtown Cleveland do visit and play some games.
Ohio residents are lucky that they now have access to four large traditional casinos and seven racinos, but for many people that is either not convenient enough, they don’t like the games on offer, or visiting a land-based casino is simply not something that can be done often enough.
This is where online casinos that accept Ohio players come to rescue. It is very convenient to access an online casino from any device that is connected to the Internet, and Ohio players can enjoy a wide range of slot games, table games and even live casino games.
The fact that Ohio doesn’t issue licenses to online casinos only means that you won’t see large brands present in this market, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t gamble online at all. The Ohio state laws don’t apply to offshore casinos, therefore Ohio players can freely gamble for real money at those casinos.
PlaySlots4RealMoney.com is reviewing every casino that’s accepting Ohio players and we put each casino through a stringent review process. Our reviewers actually deposit money, claim the bonuses, play the games, and request a withdrawal. This lets us write a review from the player’s perspective and tell you if the casino is good or not.
If a casino is not good enough, it won’t even appear on our site. The casinos you see listed on this page are those that accept Ohio players and that passed all our checks with flying colors. You can register a player account knowing in advance that you’ll be playing at a quality casino.
Furthermore, you’ll see lots of welcome bonuses that you can claim, and some of them are exclusive bonuses that we have managed to negotiate with the respective casinos. Make sure you use our links when registering an account, as that’s a prerequisite for claiming any exclusive bonus.
If you win $5,000 or more at any casino in the state of Ohio, 24% will be automatically withheld and you’ll be provided with a Form W2-G. Regarding sports betting, the tax was raised from the usual gambling operator tax of 10% to 20%, applicable from 2024, but it’s the sportsbooks that have to pay that tax, not the players. When you win on sports betting, 24% tax applies to you, if you win over $5,000.
The four casinos in Ohio are Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, Jack Cincinnati Casino and Jack Cleveland Casino. There are also seven racinos in Cincinnati, Columbus, Northfield, Dayton, Youngstown, Cleveland and Lebanon.
There are four large casinos in Ohio that offer slots and table games, and seven racinos that are allowed to offer VLTs. There are also four stand-alone poker rooms, in addition to the poker rooms that the four casinos have.
The casinos that are legal in Ohio were all constructed in 2012 and it’s unlikely that any new ones will emerge. The four casinos are located in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. There are also seven racinos.
The state of Ohio doesn’t issue gambling licenses to online casinos so you won’t see big brands present in the market. However, there are plenty of quality offshore casinos that accept Ohio players and can freely do so. Ohio players can gamble there for real money.