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Ohio’s Draft Sports Betting Regulations Opposed by Fanatics and FanDuel

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As part of its efforts to encourage responsible gambling, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has published a proposal that would limit how sportsbooks use promotional offers in conjunction with non-gambling transactions.

Fanatics Promotion Leads to Regulatory Rethink

In May, a number of concerns were raised as the result of discussions between the OCCC and Fanatics. The popular sportsbook had withdrawn a bonus bet offer that was linked to purchases from its retail division.

There were concerns that the promotions to be seen by people under the legal betting age and participants of Ohio’s Voluntary Exclusion Program. As a result of these discussions, the OCCC released draft regulations in November.

Related: Fanatics Opens Retail Sportsbook at Cleveland’s Progressive Field

Operators Object to Proposed Guidelines

The guidelines proposed by the OCCC are straightforward. Bookmakers should not offer bonuses linked to non-gaming purchases unless they can guarantee that recipients of the bonus are of legal gambling age and not on the voluntary exclusion list.

However, FanDuel and Fanatics were the only operators to submit comments before the deadline and they have emerged as opponents to the draft regulations. Fanatics, in a detailed six-page letter, argued that their marketing strategies do not increase the risk of problem gambling. They stressed their commitment to responsible marketing but indicated that a change in their approach might be necessary if these regulations come into effect.

FanDuel raised concerns about the practicality of age and exclusion list verification in standard transactions. They suggested that a more reasonable approach would be for operators to make a concerted effort to prevent ineligible individuals from accessing promotional bonuses.

OCCC Yet to Make a Decision

The OCCC is currently assessing the points raised by Fanatics and FanDuel but a spokesperson has said that it is too early to say whether any changes will be made. What is certain is that its decision will not only affect the sports betting landscape in Ohio but could also influence regulatory approaches in other states facing similar challenges.

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