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Ohio Casino Commission to Fine BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings for Bad Ads

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated January 10, 2023
8 min read
  • Ohio Casino Control Commission Plans to Fine Three Sportsbooks Over Ad Violations

  • Each Accused Operator Will be Granted a Hearing and Due Process

  • Barstool Owners Fined $250K for Violating Ohio Gambling Laws, Targeting Students

Ohio Casino Commission

Ohio Casino Control Commission Plans to Fine Three Sportsbooks Over Ad Violations

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) continues to send a message to the sportsbooks that choose to operate in that state – follow the rules they set for advertising or face stiff consequences, like the $150k penalties they are planning to issue to three major players.

According to a recent report by Andrew O’Malley of VegasSlotsOnline (VSO), the OCCC wants to issue a $150,000 fine to BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings for running advertisements that apparently break some of the regulations that have been set up to protect vulnerable viewers.

In Ohio, ads for sports betting sites and apps are required to display responsible gambling messages, and apparently, those three operators reportedly ran commercials that did not do this across various mediums, a clear violation of that standard which is punishable by a hefty fine.

These three sportsbooks also reportedly made false claims about bonuses by calling them “risk-free” and “free” when in fact those ‘freebies’ required customers to risk their actual money, another costly violation that the OCCC is prepared to punish, according to the VSO report.

Because it’s the U.S., however, first those three sportsbooks will get their day in court.

Each Accused Operator Will be Granted a Hearing and Due Process

OCCC executive director Matthew Schuler has issued a press release in which he is quoted as saying, “These repeated violations leave the Commission no choice but to pursue administrative action to bring operators into compliance.”

Now it will be up to lawyers from each of the three accused sportsbooks – BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings – to appear at a hearing that will be scheduled and face due process for the allegations they have been charged with.

At those hearings, according to the VSO, the OCCC will hear whatever statements those lawyers have prepared and then they will hold a vote with regard to if and how these operators should be punished.

That could mean a $450k payday for the state if those operators are found guilty and charged fully for their offenses, a clear message to other operators not to break the rules in Ohio, though in the recent past, that same message has already been sent.

Barstool Owners Fined $250K for Violating Ohio Gambling Laws, Targeting Students

As we reported in the past, Barstool hosted its Barstool College Football Show on the University of Toledo's campus last Nov. 15 and during the show, they advertised the sportsbook by promoting pre-registration with its own cash bonuses, a clear violation of the established law.

That particular fine could be as much as $250k, enough to make it clear that these rules are not to be bent, let alone broken, the OCCC laying down the law right out of the gate as Ohio’s legal sports betting market experiences its first month of operation.

The OCCC reportedly sends out constant reminders to its sports betting operators that make clear the standards they must follow when promoting their products, so there are no legitimate excuses for not following the recognized rules.

It most likely won’t take too many more mega-fines like those to get the point across – play by the rules and leave the underaged and vulnerable out of it so that Ohio can be a safe state in which to sports gamble.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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