The gift cards will be subject to Chapter 3775 of the Revised Code and follow the legislation ruling related to advertising and responsible gambling. They will also undergo reviews before they are up for sale and advertisement.
“Gift card funds applied for gaming in Ohio may only be used with an established sports gaming or casino gaming account in accordance with the rules adopted by the Commission,” said the OCCC in an email sent to stakeholders.
With these cards, bettors have a new way to fund gambling apps besides cash without putting their credit or debit card information into the apps. Only those over 21 can purchase and redeem the gift cards, which means the cards are not to be sold or advertised to college campuses.
As of today, no Ohio sportsbooks have filed for gift card approvals yet, according to OCCC spokesperson Jessica Franks. However, some had approached the commission regarding the use of gift cards, which prompted the new regulations to be issued.
Gift Cards as a Responsible Gaming Tool?
The OCCC has also updated its Sports Gaming FAQs with new guidelines following the announcement that highlighted the gift cards and the packaging must display a clear message related to responsible gambling, a helpline number, and the names of the responsible sports gaming operator.
Many people reasonably assume that increasing the exposure of sportsbook brands and introducing another funding option could risk responsible gambling efforts in Ohio. The Buckeye State has been strict regarding responsible gambling, with strict guidelines for operators and bettors.
However, PlayUSA published an article discussing BetMGM gift cards, suggesting sports bettors can utilize the cards as a responsible gambling tool instead.
“These cards can act as a natural budgeting device. You can simply load your bankroll onto a card and then redeem it in the app,” the article read. “If you stick to spending only what you’ve loaded, you’re guaranteed never to exceed your budget.”
Some gift cards also come with promotions that are not available anywhere else, but the gift cards can’t be sold on college campuses and can only be redeemed by someone 21 or older.
Boosting Brand Loyalty
For sportsbook operators, gift cards are also one of the ways to boost brand loyalty. Bettors can only redeem the fund within gift cards at the sportsbook operators that issued the card.
That is why operators that secure favorable positioning at outlets will receive more benefits.
BetMGM Sets the Standard
BetMGM gift cards, for example, are widely available at over 12000 locations, including Dollar General, 7-Eleven, Speedway, and Sheetz stores in other 12 states, such as Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Their latest expansion focused on placing the products in grocery stores, big box stores, and home improvement retailers.
Gift cards in other states do not work like prepaid credit cards as they are not reloadable and cannot be used to withdraw any winnings. Sports betting app users must still set up withdrawal methods using traditional bank accounts or PayPal.
As gift cards are not for sale in Ohio yet, it is still unconfirmed where sportsbook operators will sell the gift cards in the state. The OCCC also hasn’t mentioned any restrictions on where the cards can be sold, apart from near college campuses.