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Ohio set to deny PlayUp licence for “potential illegal gambling activity”


The Ohio Casino Control Commission said it plans to deny PlayUp’s licence application, after it discovered “potential illegal gambling activity by PlayUp”.

At the 14 December meeting of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, it revealed that it had notified PlayUp that it intends to deny its application for an online betting management service provider licence, which would allow it to offer an online product in the state.

The operator had received conditional approval for its licence, but the regulator said that, during its investigation of PlayUp’s suitability to hold a licence, “staff uncovered information regarding potential illegal gambling activity by PlayUp”.

Penn Interactive fine

At the same meeting, the Commission also said it notified Penn Sports Interactive – the online arm of Penn Entertainment – that it “intends to take administrative action” as it had determined the operator had broken its rules around advertising at college campuses and targeting people aged under 21. Penn-owned brand barstool had recently held an event at the University of Toledo.

The Commission said it is seeking a $250,000 fine, as well as “remedial measures to ensure continued compliance with all laws, policies and procedures”.

Public hearing

Both PlayUp and Penn Sports Interactive will face a public hearing on the alleged failings before any action is taken.

The Commission will vote on whether it will take disciplinary action at these hearings.

The regulator did not announce a date for the hearings.

PlayUp-Laila Mintas dispute

PlayUp has been embroiled in a legal dispute with its former US chief executive Laila Mintas for much of this year.

The operator claimed that Mintas had deliberately sabotaged a sale of the business to now-collapsed cryptocurrency platform FTX after new contract talks broke down. Taking the matter to court, it was granted a temporary restraining order against Mintas.

Mintas said these allegations were untrue and appealed the temporary restraining order. In December of last year, a US district judge for Nevada sided with Mintas and the order was thrown out, a decision that was later upheld in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ohio legal sports betting

Ohio is set to launch legal online sports betting on 1 January. A number of operators have been provisionally approved for licences.

As well as market leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars, startups such as Betr and Prophet and major European players such as Tipico and Bet365 also received conditional approval.