Ohio Casino Control Commission Warns Advertisers

Ohio Casino Control Commission Warns Advertisers
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

With Ohio betting sites becoming legal in less than a week, the Ohio Casino Control Commission is tying up loose ends before the statewide rollout on New Year’s Day. 

Specifically, the OCCC is cracking down on advertising on sports betting and making sure each gaming stakeholder follows a series of marketing and advertising restrictions. 

The OCCC released a statement Dec. 23 explaining that all advertisements must have a responsible gaming message, must not target individuals under the age of 21, and all responsible gaming messages must be conspicuous. 

The notice comes after the OCCC said it was “disappointed to be seeing apparent consistent violations,” in previous advertisements involving the Jan. 1 sports-betting rollout. 

The OCCC said a failure to meet the standards would lead to “administrative action” and asked providers to “immediately review their advertising materials.”

Earlier this month, it was announced PENN Entertainment would be facing a $250K fine from the OCCC after it was deemed Barstool Sports targeted underage bettors during its live show at the University of Toledo on Nov. 15. Barstool Sportsbook Ohio targeted or advertised sports gambling to those under the age of 21 and advertised on or near a college campus, according to the OCCC. 

“The Commission has seen advertisements on questionable platforms, mailed to underage individuals, or even on a college campus,” the OCCC said in its site’s Frequently Asked Questions page. “The Commission sincerely hopes that the industry recognizes engaging in advertising in a responsible manner is the law and is ultimately beneficial to the industry as a whole.” 

Advertising deemed false by the OCCC related to a sports gaming product also led to PlayUp’s sports-betting application being denied by the commission.

Responsible Gaming Messaging Important

The OCCC also stated responsible gaming messages should be “nearly as clear, legible and audible” as the rest of a sports betting advertisement. Early struggles have popped up with responsible gaming messages either being completely absent from an advertisement or difficult to understand. 

“An advertisement should not have to be zoomed in on, slowed down, or the volume turned up for an individual to see or hear a helpline number,” the OCCC said in its statement. “Conspicuous certainly is not having the responsible gaming tagline in the smallest font, lowest voice, or fastest speech in the advertisement.” 

OCCC guidelines state advertisements should contain either the phone number of the National Council on Problem Gambling (1-800-GAMBLER) or Ohio’s toll-free helpline (1-800-589-9966). 

The OCCC “expects greater usage of the NCPG helpline, particularly 1-800-GAMBLER, as it recognizes the multijurisdictional realities in sports gaming advertising,” the OCCC updated in its site’s FAQ page. “This should help ensure that the number is conspicuous and clearly denoted as a resource for those needing assistance with problem gambling.”

BetOhio.com will be your best source for sports betting news as well as Ohio sportsbook promotions.

Start looking for BetMGM Ohio bonus codes and for those of the many sportsbooks that will be operating in the state.

 
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Contributors

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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