Just six weeks into Ohio sports betting and Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is looking to capitalize on its popularity.

Gov. DeWine has included a 20% sports betting tax in his proposed Ohio budget, increasing the rate from its current 10% of adjusted gross gaming revenue.

It was one of several sports betting changes the governor has proposed in his spending plan for the Buckeye State’s next two years.

Increased tax rate, tougher punishments for abusive fans

First reported by Statehouse News, the proposed tax increase to 20% would put Ohio just slightly above the national average of 19%.

Sports betting has gotten off to a hot start in Ohio. GeoComply, a geolocation and fraud specialist company, reported 11.3 million geolocation transactions from Jan. 1 to Jan. 2, the most in the country, during Ohio’s sports betting launch.

No official sports betting monetary figures have been announced yet for the state.

Additionally, DeWine proposed giving the Ohio Casino Control Commission the power to ban fans from sports betting who are found to threaten athletes over gambling related events.

In January, OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said he would potentially ask the commission to look into placing any Ohio sports bettor on a sports betting exclusion list who harasses or threatens athletes on the outcome of a sports bet.

“We don’t have control over people’s behavior, but we do have control over the venues in how they participate,” he said.

Tougher regulations for sports betting operators

DeWine has also proposed tougher regulations for sports betting operators who fail to comply with the OCCC’s sports betting advertising rules, namely the use of the term “free bets” or “risk free” bets in their marketing materials.

If sportsbook operators are found violating the terms, the state could potentially limit them from offering promos or bonuses to users.

The OCCC has already found four operators to be in violation of their sports betting advertising rules. It recently fined Caesars $150,000 for violating its rules, while DraftKings, BetMGM, and PENN Entertainment are all awaiting hearings on their own alleged violations.

Caesars, DraftKings, and BetMGM reportedly sent out 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.

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.