Massachusetts Issues $50,000 in Fines to Casinos for Sports Betting Violations

Massachusetts regulators issued a total of $50,000 in fines Tuesday to its three casinos for sports wagering violations during the 2023 college basketball season.

The casinos — MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino — had self-reported taking bets on non-tournament games involving in-state college teams back in February. Massachusetts sports betting law and the state’s sports betting catalog prohibit wagering on in-state teams outside of tournament play.

MGM Springfield (BetMGM) and PPC (Barstool) were each fined $20,000 for their violations by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), which identified and reported its noncompliance before the wagered-on game was played, was fined $10,000.

The MGC issued press releases Tuesday saying it appreciates that each casino self-reported its violations and is working to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Noncompliance Involved Four Games in February

Unauthorized bets cited by the MGC were placed on four regular-season basketball games involving Massachusetts in-state men’s and women’s teams. Of those games, two involved Harvard men’s team on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, one was played by Merrimack College men’s team on Feb. 2, and one was played by Boston College women’s team on Feb. 2. All unauthorized bets were reportedly due to system errors or colleges being incorrectly designated as out-of-state.

Sports bettors at Encore Boston Harbor, one of three Massachusetts casinos fined for accepting bets on in-state college basketball teams.
Sports bettors placing wagers at Encore Boston Harbor casino (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

MGM Springfield issued 28 wagering tickets on the Harvard games and redeemed four of those bets, according to the MGC. The casino identified the errors on Feb. 9-10 and reported the unauthorized bets to the MGC.

PPC notified the MGC on Feb. 3 that it had erroneously accepted 33 wagers on the Merrimack College game the day before. Several of those tickets were cashed before the problem was identified and addressed by the casino, according to the MGC.

Encore Boston Harbor accepted one kiosk wager on the Boston College’s women’s game but identified the error before the game was played on Feb. 2. According to the MGC, “the ineligible bet was voided prior to the settlement of the ticket.”

All three casinos have reportedly implemented new procedures, including regular audits of their potential sportsbook offerings to prevent future noncompliance.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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