Ohio Regulator Seeks Comment On Updated Promotions, Bonuses Rule

July 9, 2024
Ohio sports-betting operators have until Friday to submit comments on an updated amendment to promotional and bonus regulations that seek to clarify how licensees can offer inducements connected to non-gaming transactions.

Ohio sports-betting operators have until Friday (July 12) to submit comments on an updated amendment to promotional and bonus regulations that seek to clarify how licensees can offer inducements connected to non-gaming transactions.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission’s (OCCC) two-page proposal called “Promotions and bonuses” amendment was filed last month with Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) office. The commission also attached a Business Impact Analysis, as well as a summary of the amendments.

“This rule describes the manner and conditions under which sports gaming proprietors may offer promotions or bonuses. This includes ensuring that the promotions and bonuses, like advertisements, are clear and not misleading,” according to the summary of the proposed rule.

In its amendments to Ohio Administration Code 3775-16-09, the commission requires all promotions to be unambiguous and clear with terms and conditions that are “full, accurate, concise, transparent, and do not contain misleading information.”

These offers also need to include dates and times they are active and expired and must display the rules, nature, and value of prizes awarded, and eligibility requirements.

Licensees also must disclose wagering and redemption requirements, including any limitation, eligible events, and requirements to cancel.

“Promotions or bonuses described as free or risk-free must not require the patron to incur any loss or risk their own money to use or withdraw winnings from the free wager,” the regulation states.

The OCCC also calls for prohibiting promotions and bonuses related to non-gaming transactions unless a specified criterion is met.

Such promotions or bonuses must not target anyone under the legal gambling age in Ohio, which is 21, people ineligible to participate in sports gaming, individuals with gambling problems, or other “vulnerable individuals.”

In addition, licensed sports-betting operators must only offer a promotion or bonus to individuals who have verified they are at least 21 and not on Ohio’s Voluntary Exclusion Program, and must contain an approved helpline that “is free of charge to the caller.”

The amendment submitted to the CSI does not prohibit a sports-betting company from participating in a consumer loyalty program, as approved by the OCCC’s executive director. 

However, a licensed sports-betting operator “must cease the offering of a promotion or bonus upon discovery that (it) fails to comply with this rule or if required by the executive director” because it fails to comply with regulations or otherwise undermines the integrity of sports betting.

This is not the first time the commission has put this amendment out for comment. Previous versions were released on June 28, 2023, and again on November 9, 2023, and it remained open for comment until November 30, 2023.

The latest version of the amendment, in part, was in response to a promotional offering by Fanatics in May 2023, during its beta launch in Ohio.

The company offered its core sports merchandise customers a free bet on Fanatics Sportsbook equal to the cost of their merchandise purchase. However, the OCCC quickly responded that the promotion violated state gaming regulations, and it was swiftly removed from the Fanatics website. 

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