Ohio sportsbooks continued to struggle with marketing as they ramped up to launch. Last week, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) doled out even more fines to operators for either the operators themselves or their affiliates violating state marketing rules.
BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings were all cited by the OCCC for lacking the proper responsible gambling messaging, which should include both a call to action to gamble responsibly and a phone number for those seeking resources.
Additionally, the commission chastised these operators for using the terms “risk-free” and “free” to promote sign-up offers. It is possible this was done by a single affiliate that works with all the sportsbooks, as operators are responsible for affiliate marketing done to promote their brand. No one is allowed to use these terms to market to Ohio bettors if the promotions require any investment of the customer’s own funds in order to receive them.
“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,” said Matthew Schuler, Executive Director of the OCCC. “The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”
This is the second Ohio sports betting fine for DraftKings in as many weeks. The sportsbook was cited for marketing to underage bettors in advance of launch. That fine amounted to $250,000, bringing the total amount the book owes the state to $400,000.
Add in the underage gambling violation committed by Barstool Sportsbook and the $250,000 fine associated with that, and the state has already levied $950,000 in fines related to Ohio sports betting marketing.