COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three more sportsbooks could face $150,000 fines after being accused of breaking advertising rules related to sports gambling.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission said it will take administrative action against BetMGM Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. All three companies are accused of breaking two rules: not having a message about problem gambling, and advertising “free” or “risk-free” bets.
This comes after comments Tuesday from Gov. Mike DeWine, who said sports-betting companies are being “looked at very closely.”
“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law,” said Matt Schuler, executive director of the Casino Control Commission.
“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.”
A cleveland.com reporter has reached out to each of the three companies for comment. DraftKings said it is “committed to the highest standards of consumer protections and responsible gaming” but declined to comment on the advertising issue, saying it was a pending matter.
Sports-betting advertisements are supposed to have a clear message designed to prevent problem gambling and should contain a phone number that people can call for resources, according to the commission.
Companies are also not allowed to call their promotions “free” or “risk-free” bets when a gamblers are required to risk their own money to get the promotion. The commission said these three companies also broke this rule.
The Commission is seeking a $150,000 fine for each sportsbook. The companies will be able to request a hearing on the fines.
On Dec. 30, the commission told all sports-betting operators to make sure their advertising followed the rules. These three companies are accused of using these ads that broke the rules after the warning, according to regulators.
DraftKings had already been put on notice and is accused of mailing roughly 2,500 ads to people under 21, who are not old enough to gamble. It could face a $350,000 fine for that violation.
Barstool Sportsbook was issued a notice of violation earlier in December because of an event held at the University of Toledo’s campus. Advertising on or near college campuses is also against the rules, and Barstool Sportsbook could face a $250,000 fine.
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