Is Jake Paul Going to Lose His Ohio Sports Betting License?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Mar 27, 2023 08:00 PM
Is Jake Paul Going to Lose His Ohio Sports Betting License?

Following a violation that landed him in hot water with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), social media superstar-turned-boxer Jake Paul could be in danger of losing his Ohio sports betting license.

To be certain, Paul, 26, isn't guaranteed to lose his sports betting license. The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCC) is still reviewing the matter. Their official decision is expected sometime in the near future. However, no concrete timeline for it has been provided. That makes sense. They currently have their hands full with the rollout of legal sports betting in Ohio, which debuted just a couple of months ago.

Still, this issue with Paul is notable. No matter the decision, it could have an impact on how betting operators and partners are treated and disciplined in the future.

What Did Jake Paul Do to Put his Ohio Sports Betting License in Jeopardy?

Cryptocurrency is at the heart of Jake Paul's run-in with the SEC. This past week, he agreed to pay a little over $100,000 to "settle the SEC’s charge that he violated securities laws by promoting a cryptocurrency investment on Twitter in 2021 without disclosing that he was paid to do so."

Paul is not alone in facing scrutiny from the SEC these days. Plenty of celebrities are being investigated for endorsing various currencies during the crypto and NFT booms over the past couple of years. Paul is not the first to fork over a six-figure fine as part of a settlement, and he certainly won't be the last.

At the same time, Paul's situation is unique because of his status as a sports betting operator. He was granted a "provisional" Ohio sports betting license as a "key sports gaming employee" for his role with Betr sportsbook, which he co-founded. Given the high bar for licensing approval in The Buckeye State, the OCCC is looking at whether the settlement between Paul and the SEC violates terms of its compliance. As Ohio Casino Control Commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks said, according to WCPO in Cincinnati's Dan Monk:

“Suitability is an ongoing requirement for all commission licensees and applicants, and the commission has the authority to reopen a licensing investigation at any time. The commission is aware of the recent action taken by the SEC against Mr. Paul and will follow our standard process in reviewing the allegations and settlement. The commission will not prejudge any outcome, and any action taken by our agency will be done in accordance with Ohio laws, rules and the administrative hearing process.”

Though the OCCC has the power to strip Paul and also Betr of their provisional licenses, nobody is quite sure whether they will exercise it. Many, in fact, believe they'll at least show leniency to the Betr sportsbook. This would entail suspending or revoking Paul's license without infringing upon the company's operations.

Is Jake Paul's Sportsbook Also At Risk of Losing Their Ohio Betting License?

While the solution to some might seem obvious, the issue at hand is slightly more complicated. For starters, the OCCC has previously illustrated a harder-line stance against companies that violate any gaming laws. Ohio already issued fines again DraftKings and Penn online sportsbooks for allowing illegal bets to accidentally take place.

Granted, Paul is an individual rather than a company. And he was not acting on behalf of Betr sportsbook when he promoted cryptocurrency across his social media platforms. Yet, his social media use is at the heart of his company's operations.

Betr specializes in offering "microbets," which are effectively games within a game. Wagers are typically along the lines of "Will the next shot in this NBA game be a two or three?" or "Will the next score of this NFL game be a field goal or touchdown?" Essentially, Betr is a sportsbook that offers tons of prop bets.

Paul's social media following has been integral to their business model. The 26-year-old has more than 70 million followers across all of his platforms, so his promotional reach is a huge part of why he became a president and co-founder. And since he was just fined for his social media use, it's possible the OCCC will also view that as a violation on behalf of the Betr company.

So...Will Jake Paul Lose His License in Ohio?

Definitively answering this question is too difficult at the moment. We do, however, expect the OCCC to be extremely punitive. Whether that involves suspending or revoking Paul's Ohio sports betting license or going after the Betr sportsbook company remains to be seen. But we would be surprised if Paul and his sportsbook get off with just a slap on the wrist.

Look no further than Ohio's licensing process to understand our reasoning. Betr sportsbook and Paul were not unanimous recipients of their licenses. Members of the OCCC showed concern for the nature of their social media following and how it was built. Paul's run-in with the SEC stands to reinforce that distrust.

Fortunately, Ohioans will not be without alternatives if they currently use Betr. Plenty of the top online sportsbooks in the business have licenses to operate in Ohio.

Really, the matter between Paul and Betr and the OCCC is more important for what it says about the future of sports betting in Ohio. If Paul's company faces harsh penalties or a revocation of their license for his own behavior, it will be a cautionary tale for other sportsbooks who offer ownership stakes to social media influencers as part of their branding processes.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of yours sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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