Ohio Casino Control Commission Levies Fines at Sportsbooks

Ohio Casino Control Commission Levies Fines at Sportsbooks
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

It is the first speedbump in the road to rolling out Ohio sportsbooks.

On Thursday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission announced that it would take administrative action against BETMGM, LLC (BETMGM), American Wagering, Inc. (Caesars) and Crown OH Gaming, LLC (DraftKings) for violations of Ohio law and administrative rules pertaining to advertising and promotions, per a press release.

“The sports gaming industry has received multiple reminders of the rules and standards for advertising and promotions, yet continues to disregard Ohio law. These repeated violations leave the Commission no choice but to pursue administrative action to bring operators into compliance,” said Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, in the release. “The Commission takes responsible gambling seriously – and expects the industry to value the same.”

The release went on to say that the three companies – BETMGM, Caesars and DraftKings Ohio or their affiliate marketer - each “ran sports gaming advertisements on several platforms that violated provisions in both Ohio law and the Commission’s rules that require sports gaming advertisements to clearly and conspicuously contain a message designed to prevent problem gambling as well as a helpline number to help access resources.”

These infractions for lacking an appropriate responsible gaming message appeared in public advertisements following the Ohio Casino Control Commission-issued guidance on the matter on Dec. 30. 

In addition, “all three companies also advertised promotions or bonuses described as ‘free’ or ‘risk-free’ when patrons were required to incur a loss or risk their own money to obtain the promotion,” the release stated. 

The Ohio Casino Control Commission prohibits the use of the word “free” or “risk-free” in promotions where the bettor must “spend their own funds to obtain the promotional value.” 

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced that it is seeking a $150,000 fine from each company, along with remedial action to “ensure personnel are trained in all applicable laws, rules and policies relevant to sports gaming advertising and promotions.” 

The fines would be deposited into the Sports Gaming Revenue Fund. 

Each company will have a right to a hearing and the Ohio Casino Control Commission will take a vote on any action regarding the violations in a public setting. 

Caesars, Cavaliers Celebrate Sportsbook Opening

A new 10,355-square-foot sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, opened on New Year’s Day in partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

The ceremonial grand opening came on Jan. 2, during the Cavaliers’ 145-134 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. It was quite a night for a celebration as Donovan Mitchell treated fans with a franchise-record 71 points.

The sportsbook is within the stadium’s glass atrium and offers a connection to the venue, which hosts more than 200 ticketed events each year, according to a press release.

The sportsbook includes “wall-to-wall flatscreen televisions, five betting windows and 15 self-service betting kiosks with an extensive food and beverage menu and an elevated lounge-like atmosphere across two stories,” the release said. 

“We expect Caesars Sportsbook Ohio at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to be a go-to entertainment destination for sports fans in Ohio,” said David Grolman, senior vice president and chief retail sportsbook officer at Caesars Sportsbook. “This unique retail sportsbook anchored to a franchise with tremendous pedigree provides potential customers with a rewarding experience they can’t find anywhere else.”

“The launch of legalized sports betting in Ohio and the grand opening of Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is a historic moment for our franchise, Northeast Ohio and the entire state,” said Nic Barlage, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rock Entertainment Group. “It is with great pride and responsibility that we open the first Sportsbook in a sports venue in Ohio. Located within the heart and fabric of downtown Cleveland and connected to the over 200 events that the FieldHouse hosts each year, this Sportsbook will be an asset and amenity for our community, and we’re excited to bring it to life alongside our great partners in Caesars.”

The Cavaliers, thanks in large part to the addition of Mitchell, have been having a solid season and newcomers to Ohio NBA betting certainly have a home team to consider when wagering.

Tipico Ohio has the Cavaliers as the second pick to win the Central Division at +220, behind the Milwaukee Bucks (-319). You can find Tipico Ohio bonus codes and those of other operators at BetOhio.com.



Shelby Dermer is a reporter for BetOhio.com. Shelby has been a sports reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer for the last five years and now lends his expertise to the Ohio sports betting market. He grew up in Waynesville, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University.

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