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Ohio gambling watchdog fines Caesars Sportsbook $150k

Caesars sports betting news

On Wednesday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) fined Caesars Sportsbook the sum of $150,000 for violating its advertising regulations.

The sportsbook was found running ads using promising “free bets”, which the gaming regulator has banned from the industry. The state of Ohio also requires that operators include information in all ads on how problem gamblers can get help, which Caesars failed to do.

It did not take long for Caesars to rectify this after it was brought to the firm’s attention. However, this did not stop the OCCC from issuing a fine.

According to the assistant general counsel for Caesars Entertainment, Jeff Hendricks, the ads were run by an affiliate company. He also said Caesars had cut ties with the company.

“We are sorry for the issue that was identified here, and we were eager to work quickly with commission staff to settle this,” said Hendricks.

“We aggressively went out to make sure this is a top priority for us. We’ve made sure that all other affiliates have been made aware of the penalties for this.”

The OCCC Chair, June Taylor, also commended the operator for its swift response.

“The fact that your organization terminated this affiliate relationship not only speaks volumes about your values and your philosophy and your leadership, but I think for us, it’s a model in compliance,” she said.

“We hope those that are listening also are learning.”

The Executive Director at OCCC, Matt Schuler, added that if other operators emulated Caesers’ move, then a good percentage of the issues they have with the commission would be non-existent.

“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.”

The commission’s Director of Communications, Jessica Franks, also commended Caesars: “We do appreciate the work that Caesars has done in going well above and beyond what the commission was asking in addressing this issue.”

The sportsbook has the right to appeal the verdict on the fine imposed by the commission. However, it has chosen not to take that path, accepting full responsibility for its negligence.

Caesars is not the only sportsbook to have been fined since the Ohio sports betting industry launched on January 1 of this year. Weeks earlier, DraftKings and BetMGM were also fined $150,000 by the OCCC for similar breaches.

The fines collected by the OCCC are usually transferred to the state’s Sports Gaming Revenue Fund, which is used to service sports, education, problem gambling projects, and other sectors within the state.

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