Ohio Sports Betting Regulator Slaps Major Fine On DraftKings Before Launch

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Ohio sports betting

DraftKings Sportsbook did not even reach the starting line for legal Ohio sports betting before running afoul of state regulators.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) revealed Friday that it seeks to fine DraftKings Sportsbook $350,000 for mailing thousands of advertisements to people under 21 years old. Legal OH sports betting does not start until 12:01 a.m. January 1.

A release from the OCCC indicates DraftKings committed the violation in November when it mailed about 2,500 advertisements to people under the legal gambling age in the state.

DraftKings representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Ohio sports betting regulator warning

DraftKings will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling. A hearing with the OCCC would follow if so, although the commission maintains ultimate authority on a decision.

“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 Matthew Schuler, Executive Director of the OCCC. “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.”

OH sports betting regulators also will require DraftKings “to implement new procedures to ensure that marketing materials are not directed at anyone whose age has not been verified.”

Not the first violation for DraftKings

DraftKings ran afoul of New Jersey and Ontario sports betting regulators earlier this year as well.

The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement levied a $150,000 fine against the operator for violations dating back to 2019 and 2020. DraftKings allowed a VIP bettor located in Florida to make proxy wagers in New Jersey, violating state law.

This July, the company received a $100,000 CAD fine in Ontario for violating sports betting advertisement rules.

In 2021, the company paid a $10,000 penalty in New Jersey for sending “promotional mailings” to 11 self-excluded people.

Responsible gambling push in OH sportsbook market

Ohio regulators further signaled their desire to promote responsible gambling earlier this week with their Pause Before You Play campaign.

DraftKings is among a number of sportsbooks approved to begin accepting bets in Ohio on Sunday. State legislators approved legal sports wagering last year, leading to a yearlong buildup toward launch during one of the busiest time in the US sports calendar.

LSR reporter Mike Mazzeo contributed to this story.