Why Is Sports Betting Illegal in Ohio?

While most states in the U.S. have at least some form of legal sports betting, Ohio has completely banned it. What is wrong with this picture? Keep reading to find out more about this contentious issue that has divided the state.

What Is The Legal Landscape Like In Ohio?

It’s important to first establish the legal status of sports betting in Ohio, particularly since this will have a direct impact on whether betting is allowed on sports events or not. The first step is to examine the federal law on the matter, as federal law applies in the state of Ohio, regardless of what local laws might say. To begin with, the Wire Act of 1953 makes it illegal to use a “wire communication facility” to engage in sports gambling, making it a federal offense. However, there are several loopholes through which people might lawfully engage in some level of wagering on sporting events. For example, the U.S. Postal Service is prohibited from charging for first class or standard shipping, so in theory, someone could set up a mailbox business, assuming they don’t use their own name as the return address, and engage in unlimited online sports betting through their business.]

Why Did Ohio Legislate Sports Betting Banning?

The next question is: why did Ohio pass a law banning sports betting? It could be for a number of reasons, but it mostly comes down to a concern for the integrity of the game. Professional sports leagues in the U.S., such as the NFL and NBA, have been working hard for years to ensure that gambling is kept off of their properties. In most states, gambling on sports is considered to be “integrity-related,” which puts a duty on state governments to make sure that the integrity of sporting events is maintained. In Ohio, the legislature felt that it was necessary to pass a law specifically prohibiting sports betting due to the state’s interest in preserving the integrity of its games.

Can Ohio’s Sports Betting Ban Be Challenged In Federal Court?

If you believe that Ohio’s ban on sports betting is unconstitutional and you want to challenge it in court, the first step is to determine if there is any legal precedent to back up your claim. Luckily for you, we’ve done some homework and found a case that presents an interesting fact pattern that could make your court case go more smoothly. In the case of New Jersey Sports Betting Reform Act of 2015, also known as “The Billy Wayne Act,” a certified class action was filed in federal court by a group of Atlantic City residents who are suing the state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Lottery. One of the claims made in the lawsuit is that the state’s prohibition on sports betting violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment, as well as the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The First Amendment protection of speech ensures that the state cannot prevent you from speaking your mind and following your heart, even when you are expressing a view on a subject that the government deems inappropriate. In the specific case of the New Jersey lawsuit, plaintiffs are arguing that New Jersey is preventing them from engaging in a form of free speech and gambling in violation of their rights. They are asking the court to issue an injunction that would allow them to engage in both activities, or at least to allow them to place bets on sporting events. Whether or not the court decides to grant the requested injunction is yet to be seen, but at least for now, you have a legal precedent to point to.

What If I Violate This Law?

Even if you’re a good citizen who follows the law and does everything correctly, you could still be in violation of the Wire Act if you’re prosecuted for sports gambling. As we mentioned before, there are several loopholes that allow for a certain amount of wagering, but those are only available to those who know exactly what they are doing. In most cases, the risk of being caught is just not worth it for something that is generally considered to be harmless fun.

Are There Any Other States With A Completely Legal Sports Betting Industry?

Let’s change gears for a moment and take a look at other states that have decided to allow some form of legal sports betting. It’s important to note that there are exceptions to every rule, and with that in mind, it is possible for a state to have a completely legal sports betting industry, as long as they close all the loopholes that are available. For instance, Delaware passed a law last year that allows for sports betting, but it is only legal if viewed from the standpoint that the activity is a game of skill, and not luck. This is important because if the activity is determined to be luck-based, such as roulette, than the state has determined that it is not legal and will not allow it. In order to have a completely legal sports betting industry, it is necessary to close all of the loopholes that are currently available. Some states, like New Jersey, have also gone ahead and outlawed casinos and sportsbooks, effectively killing their own sports betting industries. In other cases, such as Nevada, it became so popular that the state had to pass a law specifically legalizing sports betting and creating new regulations, simply to keep up.

Even though there is currently a lot of legal ambiguity when it comes to sports betting, at least throughout most of the country, it is still generally considered to be a harmless pastime and a way for people to unwind and spend their free time, which is generally a good thing. As long as people are not abusing the system and breaking the law, there is no reason to get all bent out of shape about it. However, when it comes to preserving the integrity of a sport, as the law stands now, it’s best to keep your hands off of the action.