BetMGM, Caesars And DraftKings Could Face Fines For Ohio Sports Betting Ads

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on January 6, 2023
Major sports betting operators in Ohio could face penalties for ad violations

Less than a week since Ohio sports betting went live, three betting companies could face fines for breaking advertising rules. The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) will take administrative action against BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings.

Accusations against all three sportsbooks are:

  1. Not having a message about problem gambling
  2. Advertising “free” or “risk-free” bets

Each company faces a $150,000 penalty and has the right to a hearing with the Commission regarding its marketing and responsible gambling concerns. OCCC already issued violation notices to the parent companies of the DraftKings and Barstool sportsbooks before the launch date.

Ohio sports betting ads and promotions disregard Ohio law

According to the OCCC, sports betting promotions and advertisements must have a clear message intended to prevent problem gambling. They should also include a phone number of relevant resources that people can call should they need help.

Betting companies can not describe their promotions as “free” or “risk-free” bets. Especially when players are required to risk their own money to get the bonus.

This time, the OCCC alleges BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings for running sports gaming advertisements violating Ohio law and the Commission’s rules. The Commission announced that it intends to take administrative action against the sportsbooks’ affiliate marketers:

  • BetMGM, LLC, (BetMGM),
  • American Wagering, Inc. (Caesars)
  • Crown OH Gaming, LLC (DraftKings)

Matt Schuler, executive director of the Casino Control Commission said in a press release: “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.”

Commission issued two other notices of violation before Sunday

This violation notice is DraftKings’ second penalty. The operator had already been accused of sending nearly 2,500 ads promoting its app to people under 21, not legally allowed to gamble.

For that violation, DraftKings could be facing a $350,000 fine. The violation occurred in November and was then made public in late December.

Barstool Sportsbook was another major operator to receive a notice of violation. In December, Penn Sports Interactive promoted its sportsbook at an event at the University of Toledo’s campus.

Advertising or promotion on or near college campuses is also against the state’s gambling rules. Therefore, Barstool could face a $250,000 fine.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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