To be decided by state regulators

Barstool facing $250K fine for violating Ohio's underage-targeted ads prohibition

Matt Schuler, executive director of the state’s Casino Control Commision.
Reading time 1:55 min

Ohio regulators found irregularities last month in the Barstool College Football Show broadcast from the University of Toledo, as it allegedly violated the state’s rules prohibiting sports gaming marketing targeting college students. 

Even though sports wagering is not yet legal in Ohio, Matt Schuler, executive director of the state’s Casino Control Commision, announced on Wednesday at a public meeting that it intends to fine Penn Sports Interactive $250,000 for this activity. The regulator will hold a hearing to decide on the course of action against Barstool. If the group votes in favor of the fine, then the money will flow into Ohio’s general revenue fund. 

According to a letter the commission sent to Penn on December 9, Barstool hosted its Barstool College Football Show on the University of Toledo’s campus on November 15. During the show, the commission said Barstool advertised its sportsbook by promoting pre-registration with its own cash bonuses and with the “mycash” loyalty program, which could be used at Penn’s casinos. 

Penn, the parent company of Penn Sports Interactive and Barstool Sportsbook, operates four casinos or racinos in Ohio, including the Hollywood Casino in Toledo and other facilities in Youngstown, Columbus and Dayton. 

Hollywood Casino Toledo

Ohio’s administrative code “prohibits sports gaming advertising or promoting on college or university campuses,” unless that advertising is “generally available”. In addition to the fine, the casino commission told Penn it intends to require the company to train all its employees about Ohio laws, policies and procedures about advertising or promoting sports betting. 

As reported by the Akron Beacon Journal, Jessica Franks, spokesperson for the casino commission, said Wednesday that Penn has 30 days to either challenge the finding or enter into mediation. Whatever the outcome, the casino control commission will announce it at a future public meeting.

“Responsible gaming should be the cornerstone of any gaming business. This apparent direct promotion to college students is completely at odds with responsible gaming and the law,” Shuler added, as reported by

In a separate announcement, Schuler said the commission notified PlayUp Interactive that it intends to deny its sports gaming application as it was regarded as unsuitable for licensure. The regulator also said the company accepted illegal wagers from people in the US and engaged in false, deceptive or otherwise impermissible advertising. 

On its application, PlayUp said it planned to offer the online sportsbook for the Jack Casino in Cleveland. It was unclear Wednesday what may happen to that partnership. Like Penn, PlayUp has 30 days to challenge the findings or enter into mediation. 

Penn is planning for Ohio’s sports betting industry to have a big presence from Barstool. In total, the company plans to open four different in-person Barstool sportsbooks across the state. The Barstool Sportsbook app will also become available in the state on January 1.

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