Penn Entertainment is in hot water after the latest Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) meeting. The company, which owns Barstool Sportsbook, allegedly violated the OCCC’s responsible gambling rules.
That could lead to potential fines for Penn in the state.
Barstool is one of the many online sportsbooks that will be a part of the action once sports betting in Ohio begins on Jan. 1, 2023.
Barstool Sportsbook may have targeted underage Ohio residents
OCCC staff recently issued Penn and Barstool a notice of violation of Ohio’s sports betting rules.
Specifically, Barstool allegedly violated the commission’s rules for advertising nearby or on an Ohio university’s campus, plus the rules against targeting individuals under the age of 21. The violation had to do with a visit to Toledo on Nov. 15 where the sportsbook promoted pre-registration for the app along with bonus money.
Executive Director Matt Schuler wanted to clarify that any violation of the state’s responsible gambling rules would be taken very seriously.
“Responsible gaming should be the cornerstone of any gaming business. This apparent direct promotion to college students is completely at odds with responsible gaming and the law.”
Schuler spoke briefly about the potential violation at the commission’s meeting on Dec. 14, but declined to go into more specifics ahead of an upcoming hearing.
The commission’s notice of violation recommends a $250,000 fine for Penn and Barstool, but that isn’t set in stone yet. The group will decide on any possible punishments at an upcoming meeting.
Ohio regulators will hold hearing for Penn
The OCCC will eventually hold a hearing to decide how to handle the Barstool situation.
If the group votes in favor of that $250,000 fine, then the money will flow into Ohio’s general revenue fund.
During the commission’s Dec. 14 meeting, Schuler emphasized that Penn has the right to due process for this potential fine. The upcoming hearing will be a part of that.
He also stressed that is isn’t a position that regulators enjoy being in. They generally prefer to help the state’s gambling companies when they can, but in instances like this, Ohio’s responsible gambling rules have to come first.
“The commission does not, never has, taken administrative action lightly and does not seek to fine or deny companies,” Schuler said.
Lots of Ohio potential for Barstool Sportsbook
Penn is planning for Ohio’s sports betting industry to have a massive presence from Barstool.
In total, the company plans to open up four different in-person Barstool sportsbooks across the state. Since Penn owns so many gambling properties in Ohio, that made the process of finding partners for the sportsbooks simple.
All of that is in addition to the Barstool Sportsbook app that will become available in the state on Jan. 1, 2023.
Barstool has big plans for the Buckeye State, but things are off to a rocky start. Sports betting hasn’t even begun in the state yet, and the company is already facing potential fines from regulators.
At the very least, this situation will not likely muck up Penn’s plans for the state. Hopefully for the company, this could end up as a small roadblock in Barstool’s long-term future with Ohio sports betting.