Barstool Sportsbook Ohio faces potential $250K fine for marketing to Toledo students

Barstool Sportsbook Ohio advertising
Image: Shutterstock

Another regulatory body is concerned with Penn Interactive’s approach to underage gambling. At Wednesday’s public meeting, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC)reported that Penn allegedly violated the rules around marketing to people under the age of 21. Last month, Barstool Media brought its Barstool College Football Show to the University of Toledo campus.

OCCC cited two violations related to the incident. One is for advertising on a college campus while the other is for directly targeting underage people. The total fines between the incident could total as much as $250,000.

The OCCC still needs to vote on the matter and Penn can appeal the ruling if the company so chooses. Penn Interactive was approved for an Ohio betting license in September of this year.

“We look forward to the opportunity to address this directly with the Ohio Casino Control Commission through its regulatory process. Other than that, we do not comment on pending regulatory matters,” a Penn spokesperson told SBC Americas.

The show streamed from the parking lot of Glassdoor Stadium, which is located on the University of Toledo campus. The outdoor event drew a large crowd.

During the program, there was a call to action for Ohioans to pre-register for Barstool Sportsbook Ohio in advance of the Jan. 1 launch date. The announcers discussed the imminent launch while the following graphic appeared on screen:

Image: Barstool Sports YouTube channel

Neither the graphic nor the announcers indicated the product was limited to people over the age of 21. However, it is often practice to note terms and conditions for a sportsbook in the footer, and then those terms and conditions stipulate the minimum age of participation.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapsukiewicz was on site for the event and spoke highly of the company on Twitter. SBC Americas has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment but had not received a response at time of publication.

This is not the first regulator to express concerns about the live Barstool College Football Show events on or near college campuses. During the vetting of Penn’s Plainridge Park Casino for a retail sportsbook license in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission expressly asked about an episode in Knoxville, TN that was discussed at length in a New York Times article about Penn.

In response to the MGC’s questions, Penn Head of Compliance Chris Soriano argued the show is separate from the sportsbook, saying:

“I think one of the important things to keep in mind was this was the Barstool College Football Show which was broadcast from there. There was no sportsbook advertising. This was Barstool Media. So this was not a Barstool Sportsbook. This was not the gaming operation. And so it was a more generic college football program rather than specifically targeted for school sportsbook-type promotion.”

Reviewing the video from Knoxville, the stage did feature Barstool Sportsbook branding and the broadcast did integrate the Barstool Sportsbook brand along with the game spread and total odds. There was no direct call to action as there was in Ohio, though.