PlayUp withdraws Ohio sports betting application after OCCC settlement

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PlayUp will no longer be entering the online sports betting market of Ohio and will not do so for the foreseeable future after a settlement was reached with the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). 

At an OCCC meeting this morning, the commission approved a settlement reached with the operator following a cease-and-desist order made by the regulator late last year. 

As part of the settlement, negotiated in part with the Attorney General of Ohio, PlayUp has withdrawn its application for a sports betting license. The terms of the agreement also prohibit PlayUp from submitting another application for the next four years. 

Further penalties issued were financial; PlayUp has agreed to pay OCCC a $90k fine and will pay $30k restitution to players who accessed the Slots+ product subject to the cease and desist order. 

Last year, SBC Americas reported that the OCCC would reject PlayUp’s sports betting license application, citing problems with illegal gambling violations related to its PlayUp Slots+ product.

The regulator alleged that the operator had accepted illegal wagers from individuals in the US after April 16, 2015, and used affiliates to promote that product to Ohioans and fraudulently presented that this product was legal to play within the state.

PlayUp was partnered with JACK Cleveland Casino and, after receiving the news that its license application would be rejected, announced its intention to appeal the process. 

However, the operators agreed to settle to case outside of the appeal process, with the AG said to be involved in those discussions. 

Around $30k was wagered on the Slots+ product, which PlayUp has agreed to return in a restitution payment. 

An OCCC official said: “The general terms of that settlement agreement are that PlayUp will withdraw its mobile management services provider application, and agrees not to seek any gaming-related license in the state of Ohio for a period of four years. In addition, prior to seeking any license application, they will approach the Commission at least 90 days before submitting that application to review any product plan product offerings in the state.

“In addition, PlayUp will offer restitution to Ohio consumers who use the PlayUp platform to engage in illegal conduct or illegal wagering. Those consumers who experienced losses will receive restitution through this process of approximately $30,000. And in addition, PlayUp will pay a $90,000 monetary sanction to the state of Ohio.”

What was Slots+ and why did it land PlayUp in hot water?

Slots+ used race results to determine the results of its various games. Essentially, it is the pari-mutuel wagering system available on advance-deposit wagering (ADW) apps presented in a different manner visually. While operational, the site was available in the same states that allow ADW apps.

It was distinct from HHR machines as it used current racing results rather than historical racing results to determine the outcome of the games. 

After the OCCC issued its orders back in December 2022, PlayUp – which complied with the OCCC at all times – pulled Slots+ from the 24 states that it was live in. 

PlayUp Sportsbook is live in four US jurisdictions; Colorado, New Jersey, Iowa, and Indiana. There is no indication that any of those state regulators will take action against PlayUp in light of the developments.