Ohio Fines BetMGM $150,000 For Sports Betting Advertising Violations

Written By Danny Cross on March 15, 2023 - Last Updated on April 28, 2023
Ohio Sports Betting

Yet another Ohio sportsbook has accepted a fine from the Ohio Casino Control Commission for violating the state’s advertising guidelines

BetMGM Sportsbook waived its right to an appeal ahead of the commission’s March 15 meeting, accepting a $150,000 fine. Company representatives spoke to the commission for around 20 minutes, accepting responsibility and explaining various responsible gambling efforts

Ohio sports betting kicked off on Jan. 1. The OCCC has repeatedly warned sportsbook operators about violating its advertising guidelines and has issued fines to several big-name operators for failing to comply.

BetMGM representatives articulate dedication to responsible gambling

In December, the OCCC warned Ohio sportsbooks to make responsible gambling messaging conspicuous on all advertising and to stop using terms like “free” or “risk-free” in promotions. The commission sent a letter to sportsbook operators and media saying it had seen “consistent violations” of these and other guidelines.

The OCCC announced on Jan. 4 that it intended to fine BetMGM and two other sportsbooks for failing to comply.

BetMGM representatives appeared at the March 15 OCCC meeting to take responsibility for the infractions and articulate the company’s dedication to responsible gambling. 

Riya Loni, BetMGM chief compliance officer, provided commissioners with a packet detailing various training, marketing and community engagement efforts. She also explained how the company’s customer service team is trained to identify higher-risk customers and to provide local resources. 

Rich Taylor, senior manager of responsible gambling at BetMGM, offered details about the GameSense responsible gambling program, including how it incorporates RG messaging into the customer service experience. Taylor said the program puts such information “front and center” by including a responsible gambling message on the BetMGM platform home page. 

The $150,000 fine will go into the Ohio Sports Gaming Revenue Fund

OCCC fined DraftKings, Barstool in February

DraftKings and Barstool accepted similar fines at the commission’s last meeting on Feb. 15. 

DraftKings’ $150,000 fine was its second six-figure penalty from the OCCC, following a $350,000 December fine for mailing ads to individuals under 21

Also on Feb. 15, Barstool accepted a $250,000 fine for promoting its sportsbook app during an event near the University of Toledo aimed at college students. 

Caesars was also notified of a potential fine on Jan. 4, but the OCCC has not yet voted on on whether to issue it. 

Photo by AP / John Locher
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Danny Cross

Danny Cross is the managing editor of PlayOhio, where he covers the Ohio sports betting and casino industries, including the latest news on Ohio sportsbooks and responsible gambling in the state. Cross joined PlayOhio from Pro Football Focus, where he wrote and edited articles on the NFL, fantasy football and betting.

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