The Ohio Casino Control Commission is sending Caesars, DraftKings, and BetMGM notices that they broke Ohio gambling laws in their advertising and promotions. The OCCC claims the three sports betting operators broke a pair of laws when all three companies promoted “risk-free” or “free” bets in their week one advertising campaigns.
The OCCC claims the three Ohio sportsbooks used false or misleading advertising by failing to inform potential customers that these “risk-free” or “free” bets came with stipulations or qualifications with a financial cost attached.
The commission is asking for each of these companies to pay a $150,000 fine for violating their advertisement and promotions code, and the companies are allowed to appeal the OCCC notices.
OCCC spokesperson Jessica Franks said the sports betting companies in Ohio should know the operation rules by now.
“Our rules and standards for advertising have been in place for months, and the industry has been reminded numerous times about the need for them to follow our rules. The fact that we needed to issue explicit guidance to them twice in the week before the launch of sports gaming in Ohio is really disappointing.” Franks said.
Each of the companies has the right to an administrative hearing and the commission will deliver its final verdict at a later date.
So, are these bets really risk-free?
The answer is no. The companies failed to disclose that the potential bettor would have to deposit money into their account and wager real money on a particular contest. A losing ticket would be refunded as a betting credit, and a requirement for withdrawing any winnings from the bet credit must be met.
What about free bets?
Some Ohio sportsbook promos offer new customers a promotion in the form of “free bets”. No deposit is required to use this promotion, but the winnings can’t be withdrawn until a bettor wagers real cash equal to the free bet.
Example: Bettor “A” places a free $1000 dollar wager, and the bet wins. Bettor A would be required to wager $1000 worth of real money bets before any free bet winnings for each free bet can be withdrawn.