Ohio Clears Way For Sportsbook Operators To Offer Gift Cards

Commission already has received application from Barstool Sportsbook and expects more inquiries
gift cards

Ohio sports bettors soon will have both a new way to fund their accounts and a new gift idea for a fellow gambler.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced this week that gift cards now can be used to deposit money into sports gambling accounts, freeing sportsbook operators to sell the cards for use at in-person betting lounges or on the apps.

In keeping with the state’s strict approach to problem gambling issues, the cards will be considered advertising and must adhere to state rules for sportsbook advertising. That means, among other things, they can’t be sold at or targeted to college campuses and can only be sold to or redeemed by people who are 21 years of age or older. They also will be required to contain messaging on problem gambling and a helpline phone number, whether it’s the Ohio number or a national helpline.

Barstool Sportsbook was the first operator to begin the approval process, according to commission spokesperson Jessica Franks, who said several other operators also have had initial conversations with the commission and expressed interest. BetMGM has been selling the cards in other states at Dollar General, 7-Eleven, Speedway, and Sheetz stores. DraftKings was the first online gambling operator to offer gift cards when it launched them in Pennsylvania in 2020.

Bettors will have to find another way to withdraw

Among other things, the gift cards allow bettors to fund accounts without the need to enter their credit card or debit card numbers in the apps.

After the initial conversations with the operators, the OCCC updated its Sports Gaming FAQs to reflect the new guidelines for use of the gift cards. Gamblers cannot reload the cards, meaning they’ll have to have another method for withdrawing any money from their accounts. Some apps offer alternatives to traditional bank accounts for withdrawals, such as PayPal and other money-transfer services.

The cards may only be used with an established sports gambling or casino gambling account.

Photo: Getty Images


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