OCCC tightens up Ohio’s promotional regulations

tightening a bolt
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The Ohio Casino Control Commission has beefed up its regulations surrounding promotions and bonuses, prohibiting operators from offering bonus bets for non-betting purchases. 

Updating its betting regulations on bonuses, the regulator has stated that promotional credit may only be offered when the transaction involves betting. 

The updated regulation reads: “Sports gaming proprietors must not offer a promotion or bonus in connection with or as a result of a non-gaming, consumer transaction unless the promotion or bonus: Does not target individuals under the age of twenty-one, other individuals who are ineligible to participate in sports gaming, individuals with gambling problems, or other vulnerable individuals; Is offered only to individuals who have been verified as being twenty-one years of age or older and not participating in the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program; and Complies with the requirements in rule 3775-16-08(C) of the Administrative Code.”

The move comes shortly after Fanatics Sportsbook caused a stir when in May it offered any patrons in the Buckeye State a bonus bet on its platform equivalent to the cost of the merchandise they were buying.

Following upheaval in the responsible gambling community, the OCCC quickly moved to remove the promotion and told stakeholders that work would be done to update the regulations. 

The regulator made its stance against the promotion clear, noting: “The Commission considers responsible gambling to be a cornerstone of the integrity of sports gaming in Ohio. These types of consumer promotions, if permitted, would contribute to the normalization of gambling—providing gambling rewards from simply engaging in non-gaming consumer spending activity. 

“The Commission is cognizant that research demonstrates that the normalization of gambling increases the risk for problem gambling, especially among young people. Therefore, these types of promotions, offered to consumers based on their non-gaming related purchases, threaten the integrity of sports gaming in Ohio and are not permitted.”

While Fanatics’ main USP is its ability to leverage its customer database from its sports apparel and ecommerce business, some felt incentivizing shoppers to bet was the wrong strategy. 

Instead, Fanatics changed the strategy ahead of the NFL launch, offering new depositors a free NFL jersey of their choice.