Ohio Could Update Sportsbook Promo Rules After Fanatics Sportsbook Bonus

Written By C.J. Pierre on November 22, 2023
new rule book for Ohio Casino Control Commission

The Ohio Casino Control Commission may be cracking down on what kind of bonuses sportsbooks can offer Ohio bettors. Earlier this month, the OCCC proposed amendments to the state’s existing regulations, which would further restrict sportsbook promotions.

Ohio is nearing the end of its first full year of legal sports wagering. However, regulators in the state are already starting to gain a reputation for being very strict. These possible changes focus specifically on promotions and bonuses Ohio online sportsbooks may offer.

The revisions come after Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio offered a promotion in May that gave customers a bet credit equivalent to what they spent in the Fanatics store. For example, if a customer bought $50 worth of Fanatics merchandise, they were eligible for a $50 credit in their sportsbook account.

New regulation claims to protect those still under 21

The promotions and bonuses section of the Ohio sports betting law is pretty thorough. However, the OCCC still felt it was necessary to add to the existing rules.

Therefore, these aren’t really changes to the regulations. Instead, they are additions to the rules. The commission proposed two new sportsbook bonus amendments.

The first proposal ensures operators don’t target underage or problem gamblers with Ohio sportsbook promos.  The rule states that bettors can’t obtain bonuses through non-gaming, consumer transactions. In other words, exactly what Fanatics offered last spring.

Furthermore, regulators prohibit sportsbooks from offering these promos to known problem gamblers or other vulnerable individuals. Operators can’t offer bonuses to anyone enrolled in the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program. There is nothing stopping anyone on the list from taking part in the Fanatics promotion.

Secondly, the proposed addition offers some protections to the operators looking to offer promos and bonuses. The new rules will not prevent a sports betting operator from participating in a consumer loyalty program. This means that each company can offer and promote its rewards programs.

But these changes are not set in stone yet. The rules are still under a public comment period. Anyone who wants to submit feedback can email rulecomments@casinocontrol.ohio.gov. Those comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on  Nov. 30.

How will these changes impact Ohio sportsbooks?

Most online sportsbooks won’t be affected by these possible changes. But these amendments stop the Fanatics promo from becoming a trend.

During the first week of Ohio sports betting, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars were all fined for violating the state’s advertising and promotion rules. At that time, it was because some advertisements for those operators didn’t contain a message designed to prevent problem gambling. Additionally, those ads lacked a helpline to access problem gambling resources.

Since then, online betting operators have been adhering to Ohio’s sports wagering regulations for the most part. So, these proposed rule changes shouldn’t be too difficult for the operators to follow.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayOhio. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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