The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) announced Friday – two days before 16 mobile sportsbooks, including DraftKings, go live in the state – that it plans to take administrative action against DraftKings for violating the state’s sports gaming advertising rules. DraftKings faces a fine of up to $350,000.
According to the OCCC’s notice of violations sent to DraftKings, the sportsbook operator mailed roughly 2,500 advertisements to people under the age of 21. Ohio law prohibits sports betting marketing materials that target people under 21 years old.
“The Commission has been very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry, and are disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders,” Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said in a press release. “While we do not take administrative action lightly, DraftKings’ conduct in this case warrants the Commission’s intervention to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”
DraftKings can have a hearing with the OCCC to address the violation, if it chooses. That could result in a reduced or even fully removed fine.
Not the first violation
PENN Entertainment/Barstool Sportsbook was assessed a $250,000 penalty by the OCCC earlier this month for advertising to consumers under 21 years of age. The University of Toledo welcomed the Barstool College Football Show to its campus in November, and the show’s host shared a pre-registration promo code during the event.
PENN Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden said at a Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting that the company planned to pay the fine rather than asking for a hearing on the matter. All fines paid to the OCCC go into the Sports Gaming Revenue Fund.
Last week, the OCCC sent a memo to sports betting stakeholders directing them acknowledge responsible gaming measures more actively in advertising materials. The OCCC felt operators had formed a marketing pattern that put underage consumers at risk for problem gambling behaviors, and the commission asked for improvement.