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Iowa Gaming Officials Fine DraftKings $5,000 for Violating Self-Exclusion List Regulations

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has fined DraftKings $5,000 for violating a regulation regarding the state’s self-exclusion list.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko said DraftKings $5,000 for breaking self-exclusion list regulations is one of four violations the Commission has found from sportsbooks and fantasy sports operators. (Image: RadioIowa)

IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko told Casino.org Thursday that the Boston-based sports technology and entertainment company failed to download the updated list within seven days. The violation occurred within DraftKings’ fantasy sports operations in the state, and not its sportsbook.

The update reportedly was sent on Dec. 26, meaning DraftKings needed to upload by Jan. 2

According to the IRGC website, there are four ways an individual can register for the self-exclusion. They can do so by mailing the Commission or signing up in person at the IRGC Des Moines office. In addition, registrations are taken at either an Iowa Gaming Treatment Program agency or at a state-licensed gaming venue.

All licensed entities in the State are required to remove individuals in the program from their marketing lists, and deactivate any slot/player club memberships or online accounts used for sports betting or fantasy sports betting,” the IRGC website states.

A person can revoke their self-exclusion only if they voluntarily chose to participate in the program and they have been in the program for at least five years.

The Commission held a hearing on the matter at its meeting last week. In finding DraftKings in violation, it could have handed down a fine as large as $20,000.

Iowa Legalized Fantasy Sports in 2019

The expanded gaming law that legalized sports betting in Iowa last year also legalized fantasy sports as well.

Sports betting has been robust in Iowa since the first bet was placed in August 2019. Such sportsbooks as William Hill, FanDuel, DraftKings, and PointsBet are established at casinos or racetracks across the state. However, according to IRGC data, DraftKings and FanDuel are the only registered fantasy sports operators.

In fiscal year 2020, DraftKings generated more than $460,000 in revenue, according to the IRGC. Iowa residents put up entry fees totaling nearly $3.7 million, and nearly $3.6 million was paid out. FanDuel, meanwhile, reported nearly $110,000 in revenue, with slightly more than $1 million in entry fees reported and nearly $895,000 in awards distributed.

Both operators have reported strong starts to the 2021 fiscal year. Through the first quarter of the year, DraftKings has reported revenues of nearly $290,000, and FanDuel has posted revenues of more than $88,000. DraftKings has taken in $2.3 million in fees and paid out $1.7 million in prizes, compared to the more than $925,000 and $775,000, respectively, that FanDuel has reported.

FanDuel, DraftKings Iowa-Licensed

Ohorilko told Casino.org that the DraftKings fine was the fourth handed down to a fantasy sports provider or sportsbook operator since the IRGC started regulating the games.

FanDuel had previously been sanctioned for a similar self-exclusion list download violation for fantasy sports, with the Commission fining the company $5,000.

Besides the list violation, DraftKings was previously fined $1,000 after state officials learned the fantasy sports operator provided accounts to three individuals on the exclusion list. The accounts were discovered before any of the individuals could play any contests.

From a sports betting standpoint, William Hill has been the only sportsbook fined by the Commission. According to IRGC records, William Hill allowed a self-excluded individual to open an advance deposit wagering account. There was a bet outstanding when the error was discovered, but the wager was subsequently locked.

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