Ohioans no longer have to default to giving relatives an Amazon gift card for their birthday. They can now give Ohio gambling gift cards.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) announced that it has approved gift cards as an “acceptable source of funding” for those who have or want to open a sports betting account with any of the 17 Ohio online sportsbooks.
The new source of funding will certainly become stocking stuffers in homes from Cleveland to Columbus. But along with this novel development comes a host of responsible gambling parameters for Ohio sports betting.
What a world with Ohio sports betting gift cards looks like
The new OCCC rule means Ohioans can walk into a 7-11, Walmart, or other retail locations and find, say, BetMGM gift cards sitting next to a $25 Chili’s card.
The idea isn’t new. DraftKings started the trend when it put its gift cards in retail locations in Pennsylvania in 2020. BetMGM jumped on the bandwagon and now sells its gift cards at more than 12,000 locations in nearly a dozen states.
Ohio will likely be the 12th for BetMGM, and a new avenue for customer acquisition in the hyper-competitive Ohio sports betting market.
Simply put, an individual who might not be interested in sports betting could get a gift card on a birthday or holiday and eventually become a loyal user.
Where you won’t see Ohio betting gift cards
For as much convenience as gift cards offer, the OCCC has made sure they don’t obliterate responsible gambling rules. For example, sportsbooks cannot use gift cards to target college or university campuses. So, students at Ohio State won’t see FanDuel gift cards on the shelves of the university bookstore.
Additionally, the OCCC requires the gift cards themselves to clearly display responsible gambling messaging. Also, only those who are over 21 are allowed to buy and use the cards. The gift cards must include a problem gambling helpline number, too.
How gift cards might help problem gamblers
Whenever someone signs up for a sports betting app, they typically transfer money from their bank account to their betting account. If someone has a gambling problem, this method of adding funds is dangerous. Essentially, there is no cap on how much they deposit. Their only way out is either to delete the app for good or add themselves to a self-exclusion list.
Gift cards, however, present gamblers with a fixed amount of sports betting funds. When the money runs out, it runs out. You cannot refill the card.
In any case, Ohioans should be cognizant of the rules and protective of relatives who may have a gambling addiction. Additionally, per OCCC rules, gift cards shouldn’t be given to minors. Studies indicate children who are exposed to gambling at a young age are much more at risk to develop problem gambling habits later in life.