Ohio Regulator Hits More Sports Betting Sites with Proposed Fines Over Advertising Issues

The latest rebukes by Ohio’s sports-betting regulator are another signal that the commission is taking its mission seriously and that it wants operators well aware of their responsible-gaming duties.

Geoff Zochodne - Senior News Analyst at Covers.com
Geoff Zochodne • Senior News Analyst
Jan 5, 2023 • 16:46 ET • 2 min read
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The Ohio Casino Control Commission has hit more online sports betting sites with potential fines over alleged advertising missteps in the state, which only just began legal event wagering. 

BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and DraftKings (again) are the latest bookmakers to be taken to task by the regulator of legal sports betting in Ohio

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has issued notices of violations to the three operators over alleged breaches of the Buckeye State’s law and rules regarding advertising and promotions for sports betting.

You were warned

According to a press release from the commission, the three operators or their affiliate marketers ran sports-betting ads that did not “clearly and conspicuously” contain messaging about problem-gambling help. Those ads appeared even after the OCCC issued “explicit guidance” about such messaging on December 30, just before the state’s January 1 start date for legal sports betting.

Furthermore, the OCCC alleges all three companies advertised “free” or “risk-free” promotions or bonuses when bettors were still required to incur a loss or risk their own money to obtain the rewards. That is against Ohio rules as well, the OCCC said, and the regulator is seeking $150,000 fines for all three operators, among other remedial measures. 

Still, the trio has the right to a hearing and due process, the regulator noted. The commission itself will have to vote on any administrative action ultimately taken as well. 

“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law,” said Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, in a press release. 

The latest rebukes by Ohio’s sports-betting regulator are another signal that the commission is taking its mission seriously and that it wants operators well aware of their responsible-gaming duties. It also follows other warnings it has sent to operators, including a previous notice of violation issued to DraftKings over ads that were allegedly addressed to underage recipients.

“These repeated violations leave the Commission no choice but to pursue administrative action to bring operators into compliance,” Schuler said in Thursday's release. “The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously — and expects the industry to value the same.”

Legal sports betting began in Ohio on January 1. 16 online sportsbooks were active in the state on the first day of authorized wagering, and the early indications are Ohio will be a major market for operators.

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