Ohio Regulators Revise Proposed Rule on Sports Betting Bonus Offers

Ohio Regulators Revise Proposed Rule on Sports Betting Bonus Offers
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Thursday released a new version of a proposed regulation that would bar online sports betting operators from offering bonuses tied to a “non-gaming” transaction.

More than four months ago, regulators in the Buckeye State issued a proposed rule and sought stakeholder comments. Thursday’s version incorporates changes from that initial round of feedback, and now the OCCC seeks additional input.

The issue arose after the commission blocked Fanatics from offering its Ohio sports betting customers on its online sports merchandise site a bonus bet at its sportsbook equal to the price of a cap they purchased. State regulators warned that those types of promotions “would contribute to the normalization of gambling” and could lead to an increase in problem gambling. However, based on Thursday’s new version of the proposed rule, the OCCC seems willing to make some exceptions.

Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in OH. In partnership with MGM Northfield Park. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for T&Cs. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

New Rule Provides For Exceptions

In the new version of the rule, the OCCC still says operators “must not offer a promotion or bonus in connection with or as a result of a non-gaming, consumer transaction unless” the offer meets three criteria.

The bonus offer can be allowed if it does not target anyone under 21, people who cannot legally participate in sports betting, problem gamblers or other vulnerable populations. The bonus also can only be offered to people who, through verification, are determined to be of legal age and not part of the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program. Operators must also clearly show how individuals can easily opt out of receiving similar offers in the future.

The OCCC said the proposed changes do not bar sports betting operators from participating in a consumer loyalty program — such as the partnership between BetMGM Ohio and Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program — as long as the commission’s executive director approves it. According to an email announcement, the OCCC is accepting comments on the changes via email at [email protected] through 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 30.

OH only. 21+. New users and first wager only. Must register with eligible promo code. Bet amount of qualifying wager returned only if wager is settled as a loss. Must be used within 14 days of receipt. See Caesars.com/promos for full terms. Void where prohibited. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Which Operators Offer the Most Promos?

The state now has 20 active Ohio sports betting apps, the most recent arrival being Prime Sports in September. The newest sportsbook was the only one not offering customers any promotional wagers in September.

Online sports betting operators offered Ohio sports bettors $52.5 million in promotional wagers in September, according to OCCC data. DraftKings, which had the highest handle for the month at $261.3 million, offered the most at $17 million. FanDuel, which took on $207.8 million in bets, offered $12.2 million.

Bet365, the fourth-highest operator by handle at $41.9 million, offered $8.2 million, while Fanatics Ohio, whose handle of $23.7 million was the sixth-highest, offered $5.9 million. BetMGM, which had a handle of $46.1 million, offered more than $5 million in promotional wagers.

Must be 21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER


Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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