Ohio Bans Use of Non-Gambling Products to Promote Online Sports Betting

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has updated its rules, including a new prohibition against operators offering gambling promotions to customers engaging in non-gambling transactions. The regulator proposed the new regulation in June after it had asked Fanatics Sportsbook to discontinue promotion targeting the company’s sports merchandise customers. At the time, the OCCC pointed out that Fanatics was not the only operator targeting non-gambling sites. Another example was a BetMGM promo on a food delivery app.

Generally speaking, the OCCC will prohibit the promotion of gambling through non-gambling products. However, it has allowed an exception if operators can meet specific criteria:

  • The promotion does not target individuals under the age of 21, those with gambling problems, or ineligible to participate in sports betting.
  • It’s offered only to verified users over 21 who have not self-excluded from betting through the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program.
  • It complies with requirements in the Ohio Administrative Code’s rule 3775-16-08(C).

The regulator also clarified that the rules do not prohibit Ohio sportsbooks from participating in a consumer loyalty program approved by the executive director.

Promotion Rules Must Be Clear

The new stipulation amends the existing rules about promotions. The original restrictions remain in effect, including that any promotion or bonus must be clear and must include the following:

  • Date and time the promotion is active and expires
  • Rules of play
  • Nature and value of prizes or awards
  • Eligibility restrictions or limitations
  • Redemption and wagering requirements, including limitations
  • Eligible events or wagers
  • Cancellation requirements
  • Terms and conditions are clear, accurate, transparent, and concise, with no misleading information.

In addition, while bonuses and promotions might have playthrough requirements before withdrawal, bettors must be able to withdraw their own money and any winnings from bets placed with their own money.

Furthermore, promotions and bonuses labeled “risk-free” must not require users to stake their own money in order to play, or to receive their winnings from the promotion. The new rule is more of a precaution, as the OCCC and the American Gaming Association have both prohibited that language in the sense operators had been using it up until earlier this year.

If an operator fails to follow the new rules, they must cease offering the promotion or bonus.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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