Ohio gaming authorities announced plans on Thursday to fine BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and DraftKings $150,000 apiece. That’s after each was found violating state standards for responsible gambling messaging.
The three operators or their affiliate marketer advertised their product through various platforms. They did so in a fashion that did not show a problem gambling hotline and other verbiage to help stop problem gambling behavior, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) said. Despite the commission warning operators last month to check their materials for compliance ahead last Sunday’s universal launch date, the three operators continued to violate those guidelines.
“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law,” OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said in a statement. “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.”
Ohio regulators also found that the three operators violated state gaming guidelines by promoting “free” or “risk-free” bonuses. Those kicked in when bettors needed to put up their own money first on a bet.
Compliance Training Also Required
In addition to seeking six-figure fines, the OCCC wants BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings to make sure all staff and associates are educated on Ohio’s policies regarding responsible gaming messaging on promotions.
The fines are pending, as the operators have the right to request a hearing. Commissioners will vote upon any decision regarding a fine at an upcoming meeting. The money from any fine issued will go into the state’s sports gaming revenue fund.
Fines Keep Coming in Ohio
With the announcement, Ohio regulators have now issued five citations against operators since Dec. 14. All have been linked to violations of responsible gambling regulations.
For DraftKings, it’s the Boston-based company’s second notice in less than a week.
It received a notice for a $350,000 fine last week after the OCCC determined the operator sent more than 2,500 mailers promoting its app to individuals under 21, the minimum age to wager in the state. The mailer contained a QR code people could scan on their mobile devices to download the app and receive $200 in free bets after setting up an account.
“DraftKings is committed to the highest standards of consumer protections and responsible gaming. We do not comment on pending regulatory matters,” a company spokesperson told Casino.org in a statement.
Messages to BetMGM and Caesars seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Previously, Schuler announced the state intended to fine Penn Sports Interactive $250,000 after Barstool Sports – the namesake for Penn’s sports betting brand – promoted its sportsbook at an event at the University of Toledo. Promoting sports betting on college campuses is against state gaming regulations.
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