The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) today unanimously voted to fine Caesars $150,000 for violating Ohio sports betting advertising rules, the first approved fine for a sports betting operator in the state.
Caesars staff members will also have to engage in additional training as part of the ruling.
Several additional violations are currently open in the state, which may see hundreds of thousands in fines levied to sports betting operators. DraftKings, PENN Entertainment, and BetMGM are all awaiting hearings in front of the OCCC for violations of their own.
The commissioners did laud Caesars for taking swift action to remediate its error.
Ohio sports betting advertisement rules heavily regulated
The Ohio Casino Control Commission issued its notice to Caesars (and DraftKings and BetMGM) two weeks ago for violating Ohio law and administrative rules pertaining to state sports betting advertising and promotions.
Caesars, DraftKings, and BetMGM reportedly sent out sports betting advertisements on several platforms that did not include a required responsible gaming message. Additionally, the commission noted that all three companies advertised promotions or bonuses that used the term “free” or “risk-free” when patrons were required to incur a loss or risk their own money to obtain the promotion.
Appearing before the OCCC, Eric Hession, President of Caesars Digital, said the problem came from a relationship with a third-party marketing affiliate. The affiliate, he said, did not follow proper procedures and failed to give Caesars final review of advertising material that went out to state bettors.
The materials did not contain a proper responsible gaming message and included references to “free bets.” Hession told the OCCC he is confident that if Caesars had received final approval of the advertising…