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DraftKings Sportsbook Fined $94K in Maryland for Violations

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 30 August 2023
2 min to read

DraftKings has agreed to a $94,400 fine in Maryland for advertising its sports betting operations to fantasy sports players who aren’t old enough to bet through a sportsbook.

DraftKings Maryland sports betting advertisements
The DraftKings Sportsbook in Maryland has been fined $94,400 for directly marketing toward underage people in the Old Line State. The sportsbook self-reported the regulatory breach to the state. (Image: AP)

Maryland allows people aged 18 and older to play fantasy sports contests. Fantasy sports differs from sports betting in that the contests are played among players. With sports betting, the gambler is betting against the house.

Maryland limits its legal sports betting industry to people aged 21 and older. An investigation conducted by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission determined that DraftKings in December had violated the state’s Sports Wagering Law by marketing its sports betting services to people under the age of 21.

DraftKings self-reported the marketing blunder. State gaming regulators said in a consent agreement that “DraftKings has taken corrective measures to ensure future compliance.” But the state still levied a $94,400 financial penalty.

“If a licensee violates a provision of the Sports Wagering Law … the Commission is authorized to, after a hearing, take action against a license that may include suspension or revocation of a license, and levying a civil penalty for each violation,” the consent agreement explained.

Lottery officials said DraftKings agreed to the penalty and was required to pay the fine within 10 days of ratifying the agreement.

Sports Betting Adverts

Legal sportsbooks in the US spent more than $2 billion last year marketing their operations, but the industry has recently come under scrutiny from state officials and governing sports bodies.

Gaming regulators in several states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, have ordered sportsbooks to remove controversial marketing language like “risk-free” and “can’t lose bets.” The NBA earlier this year issued a similar directive that requires its sportsbook partners to refrain from using “risk-free” wording.

We believe it’s a problematic term from a responsible gaming standpoint,” explained Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s senior vice president of gaming. “It’s important that we be clear with our fans that sports betting carries inherent risk.”

In Maryland, state gaming regulations require sportsbooks to regularly submit descriptions of their marketing materials and promotional offers. The conditions require sportsbooks to give the state a 48-hour notice about any new promotion before the marketing goes before consumers.

Maryland sportsbooks earlier this year requested that the state ease the filing component to allow such marketing details to be submitted to the state within five days of going live on the market. The oddsmakers argued that sports betting is fluid and promotions should be allowed to be developed at a moment’s notice. Maryland regulators rejected the plea.

Other Regulatory Fines

In addition to DraftKings, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission slapped Barstool Sportsbook, BetRivers, FanDuel, and PointsBet with lesser penalties for regulatory violations.

PointsBet was fined $14K and BetRivers $6,000 for technical glitches with their online sportsbook platforms. FanDuel was fined $4,250 for filing its tax payment with the state a day late. Barstool was penalized $2,000 for failing to prohibit two self-excluded individuals from creating sports betting accounts.

Along with the sportsbook fines, the state also hit MGM National Harbor with $12,500 in fines for the casino failing to restrict underage patrons from gambling on the casino floor.

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Updated: 30 August 2023
2 min to read

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