PlayUp To Withdraw Ohio Sports Betting Application, Pay Fine In Settlement

Written By Mike Breen on April 20, 2023 - Last Updated on April 28, 2023
Ohio Sports Betting PlayUp Sportsbook

As part of a settlement agreement with the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Australian gaming operator PlayUp has withdrawn its request to bring its sportsbook to the Ohio sports betting market and has agreed to pay penalties related to one of its other betting products. 

Per the agreement, PlayUp cannot resubmit its bid to bring its sportsbook or any other gaming product to Ohio for at least four years. 

The settlement — which the OCCC approved at its April 19 meeting — also includes a $90,000 fine and $30,000 in restitution for Ohioans who used the company’s slots+ product.

PlayUp Sportsbook is currently available to users in New Jersey and Colorado. PlayUp’s website says it is “coming soon” to Indiana and Iowa. 

PlayUp agrees to pay $120,000 for slots+ violations

In a Dec. 2 letter, the OCCC’s executive director Matt Schuler notified PlayUp of the commission’s intent to deny the company’s online sportsbook application due to an OCCC licensing suitability investigation that found “information regarding potential illegal gambling activity.”

The illegal activity was related to PlayUp’s online video slot machine product called slots+. During an OCCC meeting on Dec. 14, Schuler said the commission had issued a cease and desist notice to PlayUp and a third-party technology partner called Potent Games related to slots+.

PlayUp complied with the OCCC’s order and made slots+ unavailable in Ohio. In fact, it appears the company has pulled the product altogether. On PlayUp’s website, slots+ is no longer listed as one of the company’s available products. It is also no longer available in app marketplaces.  

After receiving the initial notification of denial for its sports betting product, PlayUp requested a hearing with the OCCC. In December, PlayUp sent PlayOhio a statement that said:

“At all times, PlayUp believed it was operating within the bounds of Ohio law. As noted by the executive director, PlayUp acted diligently to come into compliance with the cease-and-desist order. PlayUp remains committed to compliance with all Ohio laws.”

PlayUp can resubmit application in 2027

At the April 19 meeting, OCCC General Counsel and Director of Skill Games Andromeda Morrison told the commission the settlement agreement “has been carefully reviewed to eliminate the need to go through the entire hearing process.”

Had the case gone through the hearing process and the OCCC denied PlayUp’s sportsbook license, the company would have only been prohibited from reapplying for three years. 

“Through the adoption of the settlement agreement, the state is getting a longer period of time in which this particular company agrees to not pursue licensure,” Morrison told the commission. 

After four years, the agreement stipulates that PlayUp must formally notify the OCCC at least 90 days before formally submitting a license application in the state so that the commission can review the product PlayUp is attempting to offer. 

Restitution to be paid to Ohio slots+ users

Along with the agreement to not reapply for licensing for four years and the $90,000 fine (which goes into the state’s Sports Gaming Revenue Fund), Morrison said the OCCC’s settlement agreement with PlayUp states that the company must repay Ohio slots+ users “who used the PlayUp platform to engage in illegal conduct or illegal wagering.”

“Those consumers who experienced losses will receive restitution through this process of approximately $30,000,” Morrison said. 

The settlement agreement states that PlayUp’s slots+ product was available to Ohio users beginning in June of 2021. The alleged illegal wagers through slots+ were related to “slots, contests, lottery, virtual sports, match 3, and scratchers offerings.”

The OCCC also alleged that PlayUp was “engaging in false, deceptive, misleading, or otherwise impermissible advertising,” according to Schuler’s December letter to the company. 

PlayUp was partnered with JACK Cleveland for online sportsbook

When PlayUp submitted its application to operate an online sportsbook in Ohio in June of last year, it listed JACK Cleveland Casino as its Type-A sports gaming proprietor market-access partner. 

PlayUp Interactive OH Inc. is still listed as JACK Cleveland’s mobile management services provider on the OCCC’s list of sports gaming license applicants that was last updated April 19, along with a note that says “licenses issued to a proprietor or services provider does not indicate the licensure of listed partners.” 

JACK Cleveland had previously partnered with MaximBet Sportsbook, but in November of last year the sportsbook’s parent company announced it was shutting down its sports betting product entirely. 

JACK Cleveland’s parent company, the Ohio-based JACK Entertainment, created its own sports betting product, the betJACK online sportsbook, which launched in January and is available statewide. 

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen covers Ohio’s budding sports betting industry for PlayOhio, focusing on online sportsbooks and the state’s responsible gambling initiatives. He has over two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture in Ohio.

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