Massachusetts Regulator Fines All Three Casinos For Unauthorized Wagering

July 26, 2023
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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has fined the state’s three casinos a total of $50,000 to settle complaints over allowing customers to place wagers on unauthorized sporting events.

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has fined the state’s three casinos a total of $50,000 to settle complaints over allowing customers to place wagers on unauthorized sporting events.

Encore Boston Harbor, which is owned by Wynn Resorts, was fined $10,000. MGM Resorts International’s casino in Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, operated by Penn Entertainment, were both fined $20,000, the MGC announced on Tuesday (July 25).

According to the MGC’s decision, Encore Boston Harbor, through its vendor WynnBET, accepted a wager on February 2 on the Boston College versus Notre Dame women’s basketball game, an event where betting is not allowed under state regulations.

The MGC prohibits wagers on in-state college teams during the regular season, but it is allowed when a program is playing in a tournament with four or more teams.

The company notified the agency’s Sports Wagering Division on February 2 that betting was open on this game for approximately five hours with one money line bet included in a five-team parlay. The ineligible bet was voided before the settlement of the ticket.

The wager was placed at a kiosk inside Encore, and because the patron did not utilize a player card when making the wager, they were unable to inform the patron of the ineligible wager until they returned to settle their ticket.

Encore executives confirmed that the bet on Boston College women’s basketball was due to a system error where the team was known by two names to the casino’s wagering platform and only one of those names was included on a blacklist of teams upon which wagering is not allowed.

In addition to the fine against Encore, Plainridge Park Casino was fined $20,000 on Tuesday as a result of offering bets involving a Massachusetts college team not involved in a college tournament.

The casino admitted to accepting 33 wagers across 27 tickets on a February 2 Merrimack College versus Long Island University men’s regular season basketball game, according to the MGC’s five-page decision.

On February 3, Plainridge notified the MGC’s Sports Wagering Division that wagering was mistakenly offered on an unauthorized event and that wagering was open on this event for approximately seven hours.

The unauthorized event was recognized by a casino employee when a patron sought to cash a winning ticket including this event. This event was available to be wagered on due to a backend data entry error where the location of Merrimack College was listed as being in Florida.

Kambi, Plainridge’s sports wagering vendor, corrected Merrimack College’s location to Massachusetts.

The violations of state gaming regulations at MGM Springfield occurred on February 3 when money was wagered on a Harvard men’s college basketball game against Yale, followed on February 4 involving a Harvard men’s basketball game against Brown.

The company self-reported the violations to the commission on February 10. A total of 28 bets were placed at sports wagering kiosks either as part of a parlay or straight bets, with $1,150.50 wagered on Harvard versus Yale and then $80 on the game against Brown.

The wagers were allowed to take place because when Harvard was originally added to a blacklist document under a previous jurisdiction’s requirement of no collegiate sports, it was incorrectly designated as being in Connecticut.

Retail sports betting went live in Massachusetts on January 31, with online wagering launching nearly six weeks later on March 10.

The five-member commission is still deliberating on a penalty for Barstool Sportsbook, also owned by Penn, concerning whether a “can’t lose” parlay promotion violated the state’s sports-betting and marketing regulations or should be considered satire.

On Monday, the MGC held a hearing on a complaint issued against DraftKings overtaking hundreds of bets on unauthorized tennis events from March 10 to March 23.

The commission does not decide on a complaint on the day of the hearing. Instead, it will issue a written decision at a later date, with potential punishments ranging from a reprimand to a fine to a suspension or revocation of DraftKings’ license.

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