Fanatics weren’t fined by the OCCC however some type of penalty could come at a later date. Fanatics is currently beta testing its product in Ohio and is also operating in Tennessee.
The OCCC order to cease their Ohio promotion comes on the heels of Fanatics announcement that it intends on purchasing the North American brand PointsBet sportsbooks from Australian based parent company PointsBet Holdings Limited for $150 million.
The Fanatics Promotion
The story began on Wednesday when professional brand specialist Jamie Salsburg uncovered the Fanatics advertisement in question and wondered publicly if the ad could be targeting underage gamblers, a direct violation of OCCC regulations.
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. pic.twitter.com/2WGmPhizOY
— Jamie Salsburg (@jamiesalsburg) May 17, 2023
The idea behind the Fanatics campaign may have seemed like a genius move at the time but OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler didn’t agree and requested the sportsbook company end its promotion to Ohioans effective Friday, May 19.
As a result of the OCCC ruling, Massachusetts won’t allow Fanatics to run this promotion when they are permitted to begin accepting wagers and, to its credit, halted its promotion to their Tennessee customers.
Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO Matt King recently stated Fanatics Sportswear customers would soon be seeing promotions where new customers could see special offers and promotions tied to Fanatics.
While it’s unsure how the Fanatics promotion differs from the non-stop TV and radio ads bombarding Ohioans, the decision by the OCCC was quick, and agree or disagree; this speedy action to protect Ohio consumers and underage Ohioans is refreshing.
OCCC Timeline of Fines Since January 1
While sports betting might be new to Ohio, the OCCC has acted like they’ve been in the betting business for years, levying fines of $1.29 million thanks to quick but informed decisions such as;
- Halting the University of Alabama wagers at BetMGM after suspected match fixing during a game with LSU–the next day, the OCCC prohibited all Ohio sportsbooks from offering Alabama baseball games to its customers. The Crimson Tide is one of the top teams in the country, and as of this writing, Alabama still isn’t listed in their College World Series Futures.
- In April, PlayUp Sportsbook was asked to withdraw its application for licensing after the sportsbook company accepted illegal bets through its Slots+ company.
- BetMGM was fined $150,000 on March 15 for advertising violations regarding promotions claiming to be “free” or “risk-free” were anything but what was advertised.
- Penn Sports Interactive and its sportsbook brand Barstool Sportsbook were fined $250,000 for marketing or advertising to underage gamblers. The minimum age for gambling in Ohio is 21.
- DraftKings was fined $500,000 for multiple infractions of the OCCC advertising regulations involving direct mailings to underage consumers and its “risk-free” or “free” bets that, in reality, were anything but “risk-free” or “free.”
- In January, Caesars sportsbook was levied a $150,000 fine for advertisements lacking a responsible gambling message thanks to ads placed through former Ohio sportsbook associate William Hill and its parent company American Wagering Inc.