The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Dec. 30 issued a notice of violation to DraftKings Sportsbook for violating the state’s sports gaming advertising rules.
The commission says DraftKings in November mailed ads to individuals under 21.
The sportsbook could be fined $350,000 for the violation. DraftKings has a right to a hearing, and the commission must still vote on whether to issue the fine.
The notification was issued just a day before Ohio sports betting is set to kick off on Jan. 1, 2023.
DraftKings fined in Ohio for mailing ads to individuals under 21
According to the OCCC, DraftKings mailed advertisements addressed to approximately 2,500 individuals who are under the age of 21.
“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,” said Matthew Schuler, OCCC executive director. “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.”
The commission is seeking a $350,000 fine and will require DraftKings to implement new procedures to ensure that it does not market directly to anyone whose age has not been verified.
Ohio already cracking down on sports betting advertising missteps
The DraftKings notice comes just days after the OCCC sent a sternly worded message to sportsbooks regarding responsible gambling rules.
The commission expressed concerns that sports betting advertising has not been following Ohio’s guidelines requiring responsible gaming messages in all forms of advertising.
The OCCC noted that it had seen “consistent violations” of the guidelines.
“We understand mistakes happen, but it is not a mistake when it appears to be this consistent,” the OCCC wrote.
The commission requested that sportsbooks ensure that responsible gambling messages are clear and do not need to be “zoomed in on” or “slowed down” to be noticed. It asked that advertising follow three core tenets:
- All advertisements must have a responsible gambling message
- All responsible gambling messages must be conspicuous
- Advertisements must not target individuals under the age of 21
In a letter to sports gaming stakeholders, the OCCC noted that the commission does not seek to manage industry advertising, pointing out that the state does not specify size or audio requirements for responsible gambling messaging.
“As such, we ask for the same courtesy from the industry,” the letter stated. “Act in accordance with your stated goals on responsible gambling. We look forward to helping the industry do so.”
Barstool Sportsbook issued notice of violation for similar issue
At its Dec. 14 meeting, the OCCC announced a potential $250,000 fine against Penn Entertainment, which owns Barstool Sportsbook, over similar advertising issues.
The commission says Barstool violated the rules by advertising to individuals under 21 near the University of Toledo. The sportsbook allegedly promoted bonus money and its sportsbook app to the university students.
That fine will also need to be voted on by the commission, and Penn has a right to a hearing.