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Pennsylvania Fines Two Online Gaming Licensees for Prohibited Operations

Two sportsbooks in Pennsylvania were fined last week for allowing prohibited bets on their online gaming platforms.

Pennsylvania regulatory fine sportsbook
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has handed down $20K in fines for regulatory violations. The culprits were DraftKings and Betway. (Image: PGCB)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) fined DraftKings and Betway for allowing a banned service and accepting bets included on the state’s list of prohibited wagers.

DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports operation, doing business in the commonwealth as Crown PA DFS, Inc., was slapped with a $10K fine for allowing players access to its “Reignmakers” product. The DFS offering had been ordered by the PGCB to be made unavailable in the state.

“Reignmakers” challenges players to assemble a roster of players to compete in fantasy sports tournaments. DraftKings customers first visit an online marketplace where they can buy and sell player cards for football, golf, and UFC events. Once a player assembles their roster, they can compete for cash in contests.

The PGCB banned the “Reignmakers” product in October 2022. State gaming regulators said the buying and selling of nonfungible token (NFT) player cards isn’t something the agency believes it should allow.

The PGCB oversees all forms of commercial gambling in the Keystone State aside from the state-run lottery. Pennsylvania is home to 17 brick-and-mortar casinos, iGaming, retail and online sports betting, video lottery terminals at truck stops, and online fantasy sports contests.

College Player Prop Violation

The second penalty levied by the PGCB was for Betway, an iGaming and sportsbook operator in Pennsylvania that’s licensed through its partnership with Stadium Casino RE, LLC, the parent company of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.

State gaming regulators said Betway offered college prop bets on individual players, something that the PGCB has long banned. Betway was also fined $10K for a regulatory infraction.

Pennsylvania, like most other states that have legalized gambling on college sports, generally prohibits oddsmakers from offering lines on an individual student-athlete’s performance. The regulation is tailored to reduce instances of college players being harassed. The rule is also thought to combat an outside influence’s ability to convince a college athlete to throw a game.

Gaming regulators in Ohio and Maryland recently amended their sports betting rules to remove college player props. That left just four states that still allow such bets, including Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Wyoming. Sportsbooks in Washington, DC can also offer college player props.

The 34 other states that have regulated sports gambling prohibit oddsmakers from taking action on an individual college player’s play. However, there are some exceptions like futures wagering on which college football player will win the Heisman Trophy.

Parents Behaving

The PGCB has been on a years-long public service awareness campaign warning parents and anyone else in care of children that they cannot leave minors unattended in a vehicle outside a casino. The board’s monthly press releases regarding regulatory fines have typically included a statement on additional adults being placed on the state’s Involuntary Exclusion List for violating the unattended child statute.

This month’s penalty statement didn’t include any new adults being placed on the state’s blacklist. That might suggest that the PGCB’s program, “Don’t Gamble With Kids” PSA, is resonating.

In the PGCB’s 2022-2023 Annual Report, the state agency said there were 303 incidences involving 486 minors who were left unattended while their parents or caretakers gambled inside a casino. Included in the number were 76 children aged six years or younger.

The PGCB continues to urge the public to call 9-1-1 if they see a child unattended outside a casino.

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