Ohio: DraftKings and Barstool reach settlements with regulator; to pay $500K and $250K respectively

Sports betting operators DraftKings and Barstool Sportsbook will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after reaching settlements with the Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday. Barstool will pay $250,000, while DraftKings will pay $500,000.

Barstool was fined after a live event was held outside the University of Toledo’s football stadium. Regulators claim the company broke two rules, including advertising on or near a college campus, and targeting customers who are under 21. 

Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano said the company recognizes it broke the state’s rules. “In this matter, we fell short of the mark. We accept responsibility for that,” he stated, as per Cleveland.com.

Chris Soriano.

As for DraftKings, back in December, regulators found the sports betting giant was mailing advertisements to people under 21. A month later, DraftKings was accused of breaking two more rules: not having a message about problem gambling on display, and advertising “free” or “risk-free” bets. 

Jacob List, Director of Regulatory Operations for DraftKings, said during the meeting that they used a database for Fantasy sports to send out mailers, which resulted in people under 21 getting ads. That has since been adjusted, according to the company.

DraftKings is also looking closely at ads, List said, making sure they contain responsible gaming messages and do not contain terms like “free” or “risk-free.” The developments are taking place just a few weeks after sports betting went live on January 1, meaning it hasn’t taken long before gambling companies found themselves in hot water. 

Caesars Sportsbook also reached a settlement with regulators back in January. It agreed to pay $150,000 and waived its right to a hearing about the infractions it was accused of. The commission said last month that Caesars Sportsbook didn’t have a message about problem gambling in advertising; and it was advertising “risk-free” bets.

BetMGM, facing the same accusations as Caesars Sportsbook, is still working through the process, Casino Commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks said, as per the cited source. Regulators proposed a $150,000 fine for the company.

Regulators also took steps to deny an application from PlayUp Interactive for a mobile betting license. PlayUp can request a hearing, and the case has not yet been resolved.

More than 2.25 million unique accounts have used gambling apps in Ohio, according to data from geolocation services provider GeoComply. Revenue numbers for sports betting in Ohio have not been released yet.