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PENN, MGM, and WYNN Fined
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PENN, MGM, and WYNN Fined

by Kaidi AloupisJuly 26, 2023

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), which is the regulatory body overseeing sports betting sites in the state, has imposed fines on three commercial casinos for allowing wagers on state colleges that were not participating in a tournament.

Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino received penalties of $10,000, $20,000, and $20,000, respectively, as a consequence of their eros during the initial stages of legal sports betting in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts and Wagering

Legal sports wagering in Massachusetts began at the three casinos before being extended to mobile apps and sites in March. The recent announcement of fines highlights some of the initial challenges that the Massachusetts market has experienced. Unlike a universal rule for operators across the United States, the state prohibits wagering on in-state colleges outside of tournament play.

While the incidents that the casinos are being fined for may be small compared to the overall scale of sports betting in Massachusetts, state regulators are demonstrating their commitment to being diligent. Using the fines as a means to serve a message to operators that the MGC is thorough in its oversight and will not overlook any compliance issues.

This approach ensures that the sports betting industry within the state operates following the regulations and safeguards the integrity of the market.

The Incidents

In the specific case of Encore Boston Harbor (EBH), their WynnBET sportsbook accepted a single wager on a Boston College women’s basketball game that occurred on February 2, 2023. This bet was part of a five-team parlay. However, the wager was later voided when the player returned to settle their ticket.

The situation arose due to a system error where the Boston College women’s basketball team was known by two names within the wagering platform. Unfortunately, only one of these names was included on the blacklist of teams for which wagering is not permitted. Leading to the unintentional availability of wagering on the team’s game.

As a response, EBH reported that their vendor, WynnBET, has implemented twice-daily audits to ensure that Massachusetts college sports teams’ regular season games are not accessible for wagering. Aiming to prevent similar errors from happening in the future and ensure compliance with regulatory restrictions.

MGM Springfield’s sportsbook mistakenly allowed two wagers on Harvard men’s basketball games that took place on February 3 and 4. This occurred because Harvard’s location was inaccurately entered into the BetMGM system as Connecticut, instead of its actual location in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a result, the school that should have been blocked for wagering was available. MGM was proactive in addressing the violation, requesting that BetMGM review all bets taken from January 31 through February 20 and find the violations.

On February 2, the Barstool Sportsbook accepted 33 wagers on a single basketball game between Merrimack College and Long Island University. The issue happened because the back-end provider, Kambi, mistakenly entered the location as Florida instead of Massachusetts.

Following the incident, Kambi conducted an audit to make sure that all Massachusetts colleges have the correct locations in their systems to prevent similar errors.

Conclusion

The fines on the three casinos emphasize the challenges faced by the early stages of legal sports betting in Massachusetts. Serving as a clear indication of the MGC’s commitment to thorough regulation and oversight. The implementation of fines and commitment to diligence by the MGC sends a strong message to sports betting operators that compliance with regulations is of utmost importance.

This should also act as a lesson for all casinos and sportsbooks to double-check on their data to make sure it’s completely accurate. With a focus on continuous improvement and adherence to state restrictions, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is ready to shape a successful and responsible sports betting landscape within the state.

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About The Author
Kaidi Aloupis