The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) today fined PENN Entertainment $250,000 and DraftKings $500,000 for violations of Ohio sports betting advertising regulations.

The OCCC unanimously agreed to settle three violations, one for PENN and two for DraftKings, at a hearing this morning.

“We’re committed to our citizens and the necessary transparency for sports betting to occur safely,” OCCC Chair June E. Taylor said at the conclusion of the hearings.

OCCC strictly enforcing sports betting regulations

Since launching sports betting in the state on Jan. 1, the OCCC has levied at least six violations against sports betting operators for advertising transgressions that have ran afoul of the state’s regulations.

DraftKings settled two violations today and was fined $500,000. The commission issued one notice of violation last month after DraftKings failed to include a required responsible gaming message on one of its platforms. Additionally, the commission noted that the operator 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. This resulted in a $150,000 fine for the operator.

The second violation stemmed from DraftKings mailing out approximately 2,500 advertisements directly addressed to individuals under the age of 21. This resulted in a $350,000 fine for the operator.

Stephanie Sherman, Chief Marketing Officer for DraftKings, and Jacob List, Sr. Director of Regulatory Operations, both appeared on behalf of the operator and said remediation for the violations has been “immediate and effective.”

“We want to emphasize that we take these issues very seriously and that ensuring safe and responsible play is what truly underscores all of our efforts,” Sherman said.

PENN fined for Barstool college football show

PENN Entertainment, the parent company of Penn Sports Interactive and Barstool Sports, was also fined $250,000 fine after violating a prohibition on advertising 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.

Chris Soriano, Chief Compliance Officer for PENN Entertainment, and Harper Ko, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, for PENN Entertainment, represented the operator at today’s hearing.

“We are here today proud of our culture of compliance and proud of our responsibility as an operator for many years that we’ve operated in Ohio. In this matter, we fell short of the mark. We accept responsibility for that…we recognize that we have violated the Ohio regulations and Ohio law regarding this. We admit that we have fallen short of the mark and we regret that this has taken place,” Soriano said.