PlayUp Settles Ohio Case, Agrees to Pay $120K, Won’t Pursue License There for Four Years

Posted on: April 19, 2023, 12:45h. 

Last updated on: May 25, 2023, 06:06h.

PlayUp has agreed to not seek a gaming license in Ohio for the next four years and to pay about $120K in penalties after the Australian-based operator reached an agreement with the state’s Casino Control Commission (OCCC).

The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. On Wednesday, the Ohio Casino Control Commission approved an agreement with PlayUp that prohibits the operator from applying for a gaming license in the state for the next four years. (Image:

The OCCC formally signed off on the deal at Wednesday’s meeting in Columbus. It comes four months after commission officials announced they would move to reject PlayUp’s application for a sports betting license after staff determined the company conducted illegal online gaming in the state through a third-party offering called Play+.

PlayUp initially requested a hearing regarding the denial, but talks with state officials, including the state attorney general’s office, led to the settlement instead.

The withdrawal of the application means PlayUp won’t have a license denial on its record. However, gaming industry officials tell that the company will still need to alert officials in other states where it is licensed about the issue. The company is currently a licensed sports betting operator in New Jersey and Colorado. Its advance deposit wagering racebook has been approved in 26 states.

PlayUp also agreed to reimburse Ohioans who experienced losses on the slot-like game it operated in the state. Andromeda Morrison, the commission’s general counsel and director of skill games, said that amount would be about $30K. The company will also pay a $90K fine to the state, she added.

PlayUp Agrees to Longer Ban

The settlement also includes a stipulation that PlayUp will contact the OCCC at least 90 days in advance if it were to submit a license application after the four-year ban concludes. That 90-day window would allow officials to review any product the operator wants to offer in Ohio, Morrison said.

Commissioner Lynn Slaby asked about the significance of a four-year ban. Morrison explained that had the commission denied the license application, PlayUp would have been prohibited from reapplying for three years.

Through the adoption of the settlement agreement, the state is getting a longer period of time in which this particular company agrees to not pursue licensure,” she told the commissioners.

PlayUp was supposed to be an online provider for JACK Entertainment.

Officials from neither JACK nor PlayUp immediately responded to requests for comment after Wednesday’s meeting.

About the Violations

According to the settlement agreement, Slots+ offered online slots, scratch-offs, virtual sports and other games in violation of state gaming laws. In addition, the OCCC alleged PlayUp “engaged in false, deceptive, misleading, or otherwise impermissible advertising,” actions that also broke state laws.

Slots+ began operating in Ohio in June 2021, the agreement stated.

While PlayUp admitted to the violations, the company said it worked “diligently and candidly” to adhere to the OCCC’s cease-and-desist order last December in shutting down Slots+. It also said that the company has established new guidelines to reduce the chances of a similar issue happening again.

“The decision to offer the Slots+ product was made by an executive that is no longer with PlayUp,” the agreement stated as part of PlayUp’s response.

The executive was not named in the agreement.

According to the order, the OCCC considers the case “administratively closed” and makes no formal findings related to the allegations that led to the agreement. While the commission would not use the Slots+ violations as the “basis for future action,” its staff still retains the power to investigate the company if any new violations take place.

PlayUp’s Troubles

PlayUp has faced a number of issues over the last 18 months as it has tried to expand in the US. That includes suing Dr. Laila Mintas, its former US CEO, who responded with a countersuit. The suits stemmed from a deal that would have let FTX, the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange whose former CEO faces federal fraud charges, purchase PlayU for $450 million. However, that deal fell through.

In September, PlayUp announced plans to become a public company through a $350 million merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), but that, too, fell apart after IG Acquisition Corp. claimed in January that PlayUp did not provide audited financial statements in a timely manner.