Caesars was the first operator to address its Ohio sports betting violation in a public setting, with regulators pleased with how the company handled the issue.
Caesars Sportsbook received a notice of violation from the Ohio Casino Control Commission just days after Ohio sportsbooks launched on Jan. 1. BetMGM and DraftKings received notices of violation as well, but Caesars chose to waive its right to a hearing and address the commission at its Wednesday meeting.
According to Caesars representatives at the meeting, the company ended its business relationship with a marketing affiliate nationwide as a result of the violation.
Details of Ohio sports betting violation
There were two issues with the marketing messages from the Caesars affiliate: no conspicuous RG messaging and the use of “free” or “risk-free” when describing a promotion that requires a bettor to stake their own money in order to get that promotion.
Senior VP of Regulatory and Compliance Jeff Hendricks told the commission the affiliate did not follow protocol to have content approved by Caesars before pushing it live.
Eric Hession, president of sports and online gaming at Caesars, said the company terminated its relationship with the affiliate nationwide and alerted its other affiliates to pay close attention. The OCCC declined an LSR request to identify the affiliate involved in the fine.
Caesars agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and conduct additional staff-level training to rectify the violation.
OCCC: response is ‘model’ compliance
Ending the relationship with the offending affiliate is “the sort of model that we want to see when things like this occur,” Chairwoman June Taylor said.
Executive Director Matt Schuler agreed, calling affiliate marketers the “weakest link” in the advertising chain:
“If every, every licensee followed the path that Mr. Hession just laid out for Caesars Sportsbook, I believe 90% to 95% of the problem we are trying to solve would be rectified,” Schuler said. “… If the other sportsbooks do the same, we may not likely have to revisit this. And so we believe this is a real solution, as the chair, said a model of compliance.”
Could Ohio bettors be banned for harassing players?
Schuler opened his sports betting update by discussing a press conference from the University of Dayton‘s head men’s basketball coach, Anthony Grant.
Grant did not specifically mention sports betting but alluded to recently enacted laws that could change the landscape for college sports and asked fans to remember what is in the best interest of the college players.
“When we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me.”
Schuler said it is incumbent upon the commission to watch this issue and potentially use social media to help. The OCCC can involuntarily exclude bettors from accessing the state’s legal sportsbooks.
Wynn gets sports betting license
WynnBET received its online sports betting license at Wednesday’s meeting.
According to the OCCC’s records from Jan. 6, that marked the final approval of sportsbooks that submitted applications last year.
PlayUp received a notice of intent to deny a license over online gaming violations in Ohio. Prophet Exchange withdrew its application, while Fubo‘s sportsbook and MaximBet are no longer in business.