DraftKings latest sportsbook facing big Ohio marketing fine

DraftKings Ohio Marketing Fine
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Just weeks after the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) levied a $250,000 fine against Barstool Sportsbook, the regulators issued an even bigger fine to DraftKings Sportsbook for marketing to underage people.

According to a release from the OCCC, DraftKings Sportsbook sent roughly 2,500 advertisements to people under the age of 21 encouraging them to bet at DraftKings when sports betting launched on Jan. 1.

“The Commission has been very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry, and are disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders,” said OCCC Executive Director Matthew Schuler. “While we do not take administrative action lightly, DraftKings’ conduct in this case warrants the Commission’s intervention to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”

Like Barstool, DraftKings Sportsbook will have the opportunity to speak its case at a hearing regarding the fine. Penn Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden revealed in a Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting that Penn does not plan to appeal the fine.

Ohio regulators have repeatedly stated to operators to be very careful about how they market in the Buckeye State.

“We understand mistakes happen, but it is not a mistake when it appears to be this consistent,” the OCCC told operators via email. The OCCC also stressed that responsible gambling messaging needed to be clear and conspicuous, not buried in the fine print. While there are no specific rules around inducements, regulators also cautioned operators to be careful what they are promising with terms like “risk-free” and “free bet”.

DraftKings has run afoul of regulators in the past, including in Ontario, where inducement marketing is prohibited. In May of last year, DraftKings promoted boosted odds via television and social media. As a result, the company was fined $100,000.

While the sportsbook is facing the fine, it still launched on Sunday in Ohio.