The Ohio Casino Control Commission is taking administrative action against BetMGM, American Wagering (Caesars) and Crown OH Gaming (DraftKings) for violations of Ohio law and administrative rules pertaining to advertising and promotions.
The Commission also announced on January 4 that it intends to fine Penn Interactive $250,000 after its affiliate Barstool Sportsbook hosted its college football show in November at the University of Toledo. In doing so, Barstool violated the state’s mandate against promoting sports gambling on a college campus as there was no way to tell if everyone in attendance of the event was of legal sports wagering age.
Matthew Schuler, Executive Director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said: “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. The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”
BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings all ran ads lacking the appropriate responsible gambling messaging, all three companies also advertised promotions or bonuses described as “free” or “risk-free” when patrons were required to incur a loss or risk their own money to obtain the promotion. Commission rules on promotions and bonuses prohibits the use of the word or phrase “free” or “risk-free” in sports gaming promotions where a patron must spend their own funds to obtain the promotional value.
The Commission is seeking a $150,000 fine from each company as well as other remedial action to ensure personnel are trained in all applicable laws, rules and policies relevant to sports gaming advertising and promotions.
In November, DraftKings mailed approximately 2,500 advertisements directly addressed to individuals under the age of 21. The ads violated provisions in both Ohio law and the Commission’s rules that prohibit sports gaming advertisements from targeting those under the age of 21.
“The Commission has been very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry, and are disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders,” said Schuler. “While we do not take administrative action lightly, DraftKings’ conduct in this case warrants the Commission’s intervention to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”
The Commission is looking to fine $350,000 fine.
DraftKings has the right to a hearing and due process. Ultimately, the Commission will vote on any action taken against DraftKings in a public meeting. Fines levied by the Commission regarding sports gaming are deposited into the Sports Gaming Revenue Fund.