Being the largest city in Ohio with close to a million residents and more than double the population of either Cleveland or Cincinnati it’s a little bit surprising that Columbus doesn’t have nearly the presence in the top sports leagues as their Ohio neighbors to the north and south. ¬†Columbus is home to the Blue Jackets in the NHL and the Crew in the MLS, but it’s the Ohio State Buckeyes that really command a ton of the fan support out of Columbus.

There is a silver lining though for Columbus residents.  With Cleveland and Cincinnati just a two hour drive in either direction it’s easy enough for anyone living in Columbus to see the top level of any sport they choose after a short drive.  This proximity high level sporting events has helped Columbus residents to adopt online sports betting as a normal and acceptable form of entertainment, with a large portion of Columbus sports fans now betting on sports online.

On this page I will explain the legality of sports betting in Columbus, both online and offline, and also provide a couple recommendations of reputable and popular sportsbooks that accept American residents.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Columbus?

This is easiest to answer in two parts.

For the consumer….

Yes, it is legal for a consumer, such as yourself, to place bets through an online betting site.

For the operator….

It is not legal for a sports betting operator to run their business out of the state of Ohio.

The online betting sites that do legally accept American residents are offshore betting sites that are operated, regulated and licensed outside of the state of Ohio.

Top Betting Sites for Columbus Residents

Bet Now
  • Built for American bettors
  • Wide variety of competitive betting lines
  • Easy to navigate betting platform
50% up to $250
  • Accepts players worldwide
  • Competitive betting lines
  • Fast & easy deposits and withdrawals (including Bitcoin)
50% up to $1000

These are the two most reputable and well established sportsbooks that accept United States residents.

Bovada is our top rated betting site for Columbus residents because of their dedication to the American sports betting market.  When they first launched, Bovada only allowed Americans to use the site.  This allowed them to fully cater their betting platform and banking options to benefit American players.  Bovada is now the most popular sportsbook among American bettors and they continue to prioritise the needs of their American customers.  Check out our full Bovada review here.

Offline Sports Betting in Columbus

Unfortunately, offline sports betting is not legal in the state of Ohio.  That said, Ohio does allow horse racing tracks to take bets on live races and simulcast races from across the country.

Scioto Downs

Eldorado Scioto Downs is located a few minutes north-west of the Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus.  The racetrack offers live harness racing Tuesdays to Saturday’s throughout the summer months.  Both live race betting and simulcast betting of horse races from across the country can be done at Scioto Downs.

Scioto Downs is considered a Racino because on top of the live racing the venue also has 2100 video lottery terminals to keep patrons entertained. also accepts bets on the live harness races that take place at Scioto Downs.

Major League Sports Teams in Columbus

  • Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
  • Columbus Crew (MLS)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAAF)