DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM all facing Ohio sports betting advertising violations
The Ohio Casino Control Commission has issued notices of violation to DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM for violations of Ohio law and administrative rules pertaining to Ohio sports betting advertising and promotions.
The Commission is seeking a $150,000 fine for all three companies stemming from sports betting advertisements on several platforms that did not include a required responsible gaming message. Additionally, the commission noted that all three companies advertised promotions or bonuses that used the term “free” or “risk-free” when patrons were required to incur a loss or risk their own money to obtain the promotion.
It’s the second notice of violation for DraftKings in less than a week.
All operators have the right to a hearing and due process. The commission will vote on any action taken against the operators in a public meeting.
Commission cracking down on advertising
The Ohio Casino Control Commission is so far making it a point to crack down on operators it feels is in violation of its responsible gaming message and advertising restrictions, as this is the third round of violations that have already been sent out.
“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,” said Matthew Schuler, Executive Director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, in a release. “The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”
According to the commission, BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings – or their affiliate marketers – all ran sports betting advertisement on several platforms that violated provisions that require sports betting advertisements to “clearly and conspicuously contain a message designed to prevent problem gambling as well as a helpline number to help access resources.”
Commission previously warned all operators
The commission sent out a notice to all operators on Friday, Dec. 23, warning stakeholders to adhere to its sports betting tenants. The commission wrote in the notice that it was “disappointed to be seeing apparent consistent violations” of three core tenants of its sports betting regulations. The violated tenants were:
- All advertisements must have a responsible gaming message
- All responsible gaming messages must be conspicuous
- Advertisements must not target individuals under the age of 21
According to the message sent to stakeholders, the industry “does not want to have people participating in gaming if they are underage or have a gambling problem” and failure to meet the advertising standards “will result in administrative action.”
And result in administrative action it has. In the last month the commission also sent out notices of violations to both DraftKings and PENN Entertainment.
DraftKings allegedly mailed approximately 2,500 advertisements directly addressed to individuals under the age of 21. The commission will seek a $350,000 fine against the operator and require implementation of new procedures to ensure marketing materials are not directed to individuals whose age has not been verified.
PENN Entertainment, the parent company of Penn Sports Interactive and Barstool Sports, is also facing a $250,000 fine after an alleged violation against advertising on or targeting a college campus and/or individuals under the age of 21.
The violation, sent to Penn Sports Interactive as part of its Barstool Sportsbook brand, stemmed from a Nov. 15, 2022, Barstool College Football show which took place “on, or targeting the area of, the University of Toledo’s Campus.” During the show, the violation notice alleges that Barstool advertised the Barstool Sportsbook by promoting pre-registration for the sportsbook, including bonus cash and “mycash” rewards for PENN Entertainment casinos. It also said Barstool targeted individuals under the age of 21 in the same way during the show.
Sports betting has been live in Ohio since Jan. 1, 2023, at 12:01 a.m.