Sportsbook operators facing fines in Ohio for advertising and promotion missteps

Credit: David Dermer

Credit: David Dermer

The Ohio Casino Control Commission recently issued fines to multiple providers offering sports gambling services for reportedly advertising to those under the age of 21 and making other promotion violations.

Those punished can request a hearing, according to the commission. If companies ignore these fines and other attempts from the commission to regulate their actions, they could have licenses revoked.

“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law. These repeated violations leave the commission no choice but to pursue administrative action to bring operators into compliance,” said Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

“The commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”

The commission notified operators of BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings that it plans to take administrative action against them for violations of Ohio law and administrative rules pertaining to advertising and promotions.

The commission said BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings — or their affiliate marketer — ran sports gaming advertisements on several platforms that violated provisions that require sports gaming advertisements to clearly and conspicuously contain a message designed to prevent problem gambling, as well as a helpline number.

Caesars waived its right to a hearing. The commission approved a final order against Caesars, imposing a $150,000 fine and training for employees. BetMGM and DraftKings, which are also each facing proposed fines of $150,000 each, have not requested hearings.

DraftKings is facing another proposed fine of $350,000 for mailing 2,500 advertisements that were “directly addressed” to individuals who are under the age of 21.

Barstool Sportsbook parent Penn Sports Interactive LLC also received a notice of violation Dec. 9 in which the commission proposed a $250,000 fine, according to WCPO. The commission alleged Barstool violated Ohio law by hosting “the Barstool College Football Show on the University of Toledo’s campus, targeting persons under the age of twenty-one, encouraging the college audience to pre-register for the Barstool Sportsbook.”

If companies facing fines do not request a hearing, the Ohio Casino Control Commission will issue a final order, which could include the proposed fines. If companies refuse to cooperate, the commission has the option to suspend or revoke a license, but the commission said on Thursday that is not to that point yet with those companies.

The commission also said it has told PlayUp, a mobile sports betting and racing platform, that the agency intends to deny online sports betting licensing to PlayUp.

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