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Ohio fines three sportsbooks $150k for advertising breaches

Ohio sports betting news

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has fined DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars Entertainment with the sum of $150,000 each for breaches related to advertising laws.

This news is coming less than a week after the state launched sports betting. These three operators allegedly broadcast sports betting advertisements on numerous platforms that were prohibited by the state. Hence, it is infringing on Ohio law, which governs promotions and advertising. The state’s Sports Gaming Revenue Fund will receive all earnings from the disciplinary procedures.

In breach of Commission regulations, the three companies also marketed promotions or rewards using the terms “free” and “risk-free,” even though consumers had to take a loss or put their own money on the line to obtain the incentive.

According to OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler, the requirements and expectations for advertising and promotions have been repeatedly emphasized to the sports gambling sector, yet they still disobey Ohio law. Therefore, in order to bring operators into compliance with the law, the Commission will be forced to take disciplinary actions due to these persistent infractions.

“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. The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same,” said Schuler.

“The Commission has been very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry, and are disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders,” added Schuler. “While we do not take administrative action lightly, DraftKings’ conduct in this case warrants the Commission’s intervention to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”

This will be DraftKings’ second warning since January 1 of this year. The commission claimed the operator sent over 2,500 mailers marketing its app to persons under 21. Hence, the state issued a notice for $350,000 in penalties.

A DraftKings spokesman said: “DraftKings is committed to the highest standards of consumer protections and responsible gaming. We do not comment on pending regulatory matters.”

The OCCC is also seeking corrective action on top of the fines to guarantee that staff members are taught the Ohio state laws, rules, and procedures governing sports betting advertising and marketing.

Legal proceedings allow operators to be entitled to an opportunity to respond to the Commission’s charge. After a trial, any sanctions will be subsequently decided upon in a public meeting.

Ohio revised its ad regulations on December 30 and instructed all businesses to check that their advertisements complied with the regulations before the regulated market opened on January 1, 2023.

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