“The companies that are doing the massive advertising need to be aware that they’re being looked at very closely by the governor and the casino control commission,” DeWine said.
The Casino Control Commission said it shares the governor’s concerns as it relates to sports gambling advertising, saying it has taken action against two gaming operators.
“We believe, that at least on several occasions, they’ve already crossed a line,” DeWine said. “My message to them is this will not be tolerated in the state of Ohio.”
Director of Communications for the Ohio Casino Control Commission Jessica Franks released the following statement:
“The industry has been aware of the Commission’s rules and state law in these areas for months and has already taken action against Penn Sports Interactive and DraftKings for violations of these provisions ahead of the launch of sports gaming.
The fact the Commission needed to issue explicit guidance on advertising to operators twice in the week prior to launch (on Dec. 23 and 29) is disappointing. While our goal is compliance, the Commission remains vigilant in monitoring sports gaming ads and promotions and will not hesitate to take administrative action for repeated violations.”
In a statement, DraftKings said, “DraftKings is committed to the highest standards of consumer protections and responsible gaming. We do not comment on pending regulatory matters.”
The other gaming company, Penn Sports Interactive, operates Barstool Sports and is being looked at for advertising to Ohioans under 21.
“That’s a line, that’s a pretty clear line that they cannot cross,” DeWine said.
In a lengthy statement, Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn Entertainment, said Barstool Sports held one of its college football sports events at the University of Toledo, but said one of their online ads during that show talked about their sportsbook launch.
The casino control commission considered that advertising on campus, Schippers said.
“It was our mistake to not clear our activities with our regulators first,” he said in the statement.
Plus, he said Penn is making long-term changes.
“Nothing is more important to Penn than its gaming licenses and the positive, honest, and transparent relationships that we maintain with our regulators,” Schippers’ statement reads. “And we are deeply committed for both personal and professional reasons to responsible gaming and a culture of compliance. Going forward, Penn and Barstool Sports have implemented a new policy for the 2023 season, whereby the Barstool Sports College Football Show will require live audience members to show proof of being 21+.”
DeWine said gaming companies also need to be careful regarding the claim of free money and free gaming.
“When you look at the fine print or try to figure out what it really means, it doesn’t mean what’s implied by the TV advertising,” DeWine said. “Yes, we’re paying attention. I watch TV.”
When reached for comment, FanDuel, another online sports gambling outlet that has been advertising heavily in the Buckeye state, declined to comment.