DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbooks are facing fines of up to $150,000 each for violating advertising rules in the newly-opened Ohio market. Though the fines themselves are minimal, the fact operators were called out for them when sports betting had only been legal in the state for a week suggests that state governments are not playing games with advertising regulations.
According to a report on Cleveland.com, all three operators either didn’t include mandatory problem gambling information in their advertising, or offered “free bets” in violation of Ohio law sometime after December 30.
That December 30 date is important because that’s when the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) issued a warning to all operators ahead of the launch of regulated sports betting on January 1. These particular violations are alleged to have happened after the warning.
OCCC executive director, Matt Schuler commented on the situation to Cleveland.com saying, “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. The commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”
Tha State of Ohio is just latest entity to challenge US-facing operators on the messages contained in the blizzard of advertising that accompanies the launch of regulated sports betting at the state level. It’s clear that state governments are very serious about making sure that operators are adhering to both the spirit, and the letter, of the law.
Officials at the OCCC are seeking $150,000 in fines from each of the operators mentioned, though no fines have been officially issued at this time.