Ohio Poker - Poker Laws in Ohio - Home Poker Games

Ohio Poker LawsPoker Laws in Ohio

Ohio is one of the strictest states when it comes to gambling in general and poker is no exception. Home games are on rocky ground legally, and the state-sponsored gambling institutions are in the stone age. The state legislature has been locked in a never ending debate over gambling, and even when they’re on the verge of progress, unforeseeable setbacks bring all of the action to a halt.

Learn which USA poker sites will accept players from the state of Ohio


Are Home Poker Games Legal in the State of Ohio?

Well, they may be, but it depends on the circumstances. According to § 2915.03 of the Ohio Penal Code, “no person, being the owner or lessee, or having custody, control, or supervision of the premises, shall use or occupy such premises for gambling…” and it continues to say that they may not “recklessly permit such premises to be used or occupied for gambling.”

A house of gaming is defined as any place that allows games of chance, and while many will argue that poker is a game of skill, the Ohio Penal code is quite clear. When defining the term “game of chance” poker is specifically mentioned as an example!

Putting it all together, we can see that operating a poker club is totally in violation of the law, but does this apply to a friendly game on the weekend? The law may be a bit vague, but the current interpretation is that a game held in a private residence, where the owners do not charge a fee or rake the pot, is in fact legal.

Do the Casinos in Ohio Offer Poker?

The “casinos” in Ohio are nothing more than glorified horse track resorts. No slots, no table games, and definitely no poker. Obviously though, the citizens of Ohio are interested in broadening their horizons, and the state government realizes there is a lot of money to be made with casinos.

For years now, plans have been laid out to develop a new, full-fledged casino industry in the state, but controversy abounds and as of yet, no progress has been made. In November of 2009, the voters in the state of Ohio will be able to vote on an amendment to the state constitution to allow a single casino in each of the state’s four largest cities (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo).

Can I Play Poker Online?

Ohio is one of the many states that hasn’t addressed online poker in any way. Assuming you don’t actually own an online poker room, you probably have very little to worry about. Even for home games, mere participants don’t face any legal charges. Also, because it’s so hard to identify online poker players, the Ohio law enforcement agencies are left with very few ways to enforce any future laws.

In the US, you may have some difficulty playing because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but you aren’t breaking any laws. US Law, as it so stands, is targeted at banks and credit card companies, but not at poker players.

View More USA Poker / Gambling Laws by State

Oregon - Oregon Poker Laws

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Poker Laws

Rhode Island - Rhode Island Poker Laws

South Carolina - South Carolina Poker Laws

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