Sports betting giant DraftKings could face a $350,000 fine in Ohio after it was accused of mailing gambling advertisements to people under 21. The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced the potential penalty on Friday.
The regulator stated it is taking administrative action against the company for what it said is a violation of Ohio’s sports gaming advertising rules. The operator will be able to request a hearing, and no fine will be issued until the company gets due process.
The commission assured DraftKings mailed advertisements for its sports betting app in November, and approximately 2,500 ads were directly addressed to people under the age of 21, reports Cleveland.com.
Commission spokesperson Jessica Franks said the ads were mailed to about 150,000 people. Sports gambling in the Buckeye State became legal on January 1, with only people over 21 allowed to place bets.
Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said in a statement that the regulator has been “very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry,” and that the body is “disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders.”
Matt Schuler “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,” he further stated.
DraftKings may also be forced to implement new procedures so that marketing materials are not directed at anyone whose age has not been verified, the commission assured.
DraftKings is not the first company to be put on notice in Ohio. Barstool Sportsbook was issued a notice of violation in December because of an event held at the University of Toledo’s campus. Advertising on or near college campuses is also against the state’s rules, leading regulators to pursue a $250,000 fine. Barstool parent company Penn Entertainment is requesting a hearing on the violation.
Ohio officially debuted legal sports betting on New Year’s Day. The countdown to the 2023 New Year coincided with the countdown to legal sports gaming in the Buckeye State, with midnight marking the launch of the new market.
A total of 12 licensed retail sportsbooks and 16 online sportsbooks opened for business on January 1. More parties also greenlighted to conduct sports betting by the Casino Control Commission will launch throughout the year.
The Buckeye State is now among 32 states and Washington, DC to have legalized sports betting in some capacity. According to early projections from PlayOhio, Ohioans are expected to wager about $8 billion in the first year. Meanwhile, BetOhio anticipates the state will net around $50 million in 2023.