Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Blasts Sports Betting Marketing Days After Ohio Market Goes Legal

  • DeWine has questioned the amount of ads and campaigns targeted at underage people
  • Ohio sports betting started January 1, but already two gambling firms are in trouble
  • The OCCC wants to fine DraftKings $350,000 and Barstool $250,000 for underage marketing
  • OCCC’s Matthew Schuler said his body was “disappointed with the lack of compliance”
Ohio flag outside state house
Three days have barely passed since Ohio sports betting launched and already Governor DeWine is warning licensees about advertising to an underage audience. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Objection raised

Despite Ohio’s sports betting market being just days old, one of its key longtime advocates has already raised an objection.

some sports betting operators had “crossed a line”

At a Tuesday morning press conference, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that some sports betting operators had “crossed a line” in their marketing drives “at least in several occasions.”

DeWine warned the firms behind the “massive advertising” they were being “looked at very closely” by himself and the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC).

The governor, who signed House Bill 29 into law in December 2021 after being a longtime advocate for sports betting, said the offending marketing campaigns “will not be tolerated in the state of Ohio.”

DeWine’s gripe centers around advertising to an audience younger than 21, which is illegal in Ohio.

Issues come fast

“We’re paying attention. I watch TV,” DeWine’s Tuesday statement went. The governor said one sports betting firm was “directly was targeting a large number of young people.”

While Ohio sports betting only went legal on January 1, the OCCC has already called out two major sports betting operators for alleged violations.

On Friday, the OCCC started proceedings against DraftKings, wanting to fine the firm a hefty $350,000 for sanctioning a direct mailer to over 2,500 underage Ohioans.

In December, the OCCC told Barstool Sportsbook it was subject to a $250,000 fine for targeting a college campus via a promotional code to pre-register for sports betting at a November event “on or near the University of Toledo campus.”

As with DraftKings, Ohio law means Barstool will be granted a hearing on the issue.

Patience wearing thin

With DeWine wading into the argument, the OCCC has issued a statement that reveals the body’s growing frustration with sports betting firms in Ohio. The OCCC’s executive director Matthew Schuler said they were “disappointed with the lack of compliance.”

will not hesitate to take administrative action for repeated violations”

Schuler added the OCCC shares DeWine’s worries over sports betting firms advertising and promotions and “will not hesitate to take administrative action for repeated violations.”