The Ohio Casino Control Commission is not messing around when it comes to operators following advertising rules for Ohio sports betting.
BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings were notified Thursday of violations in their ads on multiple platforms that went against both Ohio law and the Commission’s rules for Ohio sportsbooks. The OCCC sent out a reminder to all stakeholders on Dec. 23 and said it issued another reminder to operators Dec. 30 to make sure advertisements complied with the laws.
“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law,” Executive Director Matt Schuler said. “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.”
Specific Ohio sports betting violations
The OCC alleges the three operators broke the same rules, which could lead to a $150,000 fine:
- The operators or their affiliate marketer ran ads that did not “clearly and conspicuously contain a message designed to prevent problem gambling as well as a helpline number to help access resources.”
- Each of the companies used the words “free” or “risk-free” in ads for promos or bonuses where bettors were required to risk their own money to get the promo dollars. Ohio’s regulations specifically prohibit the use of that language when bettors have to deposit and risk their own money.
This is the first violation in Ohio for BetMGM and Caesars, and it is DraftKings’ second. The OCCC said DraftKings sent promotional material to thousands of people under 21 and is seeking a $350,000 fine for the first violation.
Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook was also sent a notice of violation after Barstool Sports promoted the sportsbook and a sign-up offer during a college football show near the University of Toledo campus.
BetJACK not taking chances
It is clear Ohio’s regulators are paying close attention to the licensees of its sports betting market, which went live Jan. 1. One local operator, JACK Entertainment‘s betJACK, looks like it is not taking any chances.
The betJACK Twitter account went through multiple old tweets Wednesday and added a linked Tweet saying “GAMING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER, Must be 21+.” Interestingly, though, that message did not accompany new tweets sent out Wednesday and Thursday.
Big Ohio sports betting numbers so far
There are only two days worth of information so far, but the early numbers out of Ohio are strong.
According to GeoComply, there were 11.3 million geolocation transactions in Ohio between midnight Jan. 1 and 11:59 pm Jan 2. That led all states as New York came in second with 9.3 million transactions.