Ohio Authorities Stop Fanatics Store Promotion Activities

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The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has taken action against Fanatics store bonus bets promotion for contravening its responsible gambling rules.

In a bid to promote its recently launched sportsbook and increase sales in its sports apparel store, Fanatics launched a promotion in Ohio that offers any new customer who purchases its merchandise a bonus bet on its sportsbook equivalent to the amount they spent in the store.

Responsible Gaming advocate Jamie Salsburg brought the promotion to light via a post on his Twitter account, which read, "So, @Fanatics is offering a bonus bet to everyone who purchases an item on site?!? Obviously, they won't let kids take advantage of the promo, but presenting it to everyone who places an item in the cart? Really? This is quite problematic for them and the industry as a whole."

Before long, the post gained traction on social media and led to discussions about whether the promotion was appropriate. It eventually culminated in complaints and inquiries with the Ohio Casino Control Commission(OCCC).

According to OCCC spokesperson Jessica Franks, the promotion violated two separate regulations, including Rule 3775-16-08 and Rule 3775-16-09. The former consists of rules about advertisements in line with responsible gambling and underage measures.

The second rule focuses on promotions, particularly asking operators to display the terms of their bonuses and not offer risk-free bets.

Franks concluded that the promotion had been pulled from the state. Due to this development, Fanatics may not likely offer the promotion in Tennessee, where the operator is planning a beta launch.

Last week, Fanatics agreed to acquire PointsBet Holdings' US division for $150 million in a deal that will see it gain access to PointsBet operations in the United States.

Possible Implications

This enforcement action by the OCCC underscores the stringent nature of gambling regulations and the importance of adhering to responsible gaming practices. The Fanatics case could serve as a precedent for other operators who might be considering similar marketing strategies. It also brings into focus the delicate balance companies must maintain between attracting customers and upholding responsible gaming principles. The halt of Fanatics' promotion might have broader implications for the industry, particularly in jurisdictions with similar rules. Furthermore, this event could influence Fanatics' future promotional strategies, especially in states like Tennessee where they plan to launch new operations.

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