BetMGM Faces Adjudicatory Hearing in Massachusetts for Allowing Illegal College Prop Bet

The commission unearthed the illicit wager through an audit; it was not reported voluntarily by BetMGM.

Feb 1, 2024 • 17:17 ET • 4 min read
Thomas Castellanos Boston College Eagles NCAAF
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Three sports betting operators were caught in the crosshairs of Old Bay State regulators for non-compliance on Thursday, with BetMGM committing the most serious violation.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission found that 15,000 illegal wagers were made on a college football player prop on BetMGM's same-game parlay platform. More than $200,000 was accepted in a state that doesn’t allow prop betting on college athletes. 

The commission opted to send BetMGM to an adjudicatory hearing as a serious fine or sports betting license sanction could be on the table for the operator. 

“I know I’m personally interested in resolving this matter as quickly as possible for the protection of student-athletes,” MGC chair Kathy Judd-Stein said during Thursday’s meeting. 

Strike two for Fanatics

Massachusetts prohibits sportsbooks from offering wagers on in-state college teams. Fanatics Sportsbook was also found in violation of Old Bay State’s sports betting compliance law for the second time. 

The commission made the decision last month to have an adjudicatory hearing in February for a college football future bet violation that occurred in December, involving a $50 Boston College bowl game wager. 

On Thursday, it was revealed that Fanatics also allowed a single wager, five-leg parlay for $2 on a college basketball game involving Boston University in December. Like the Boston College wager, the bet was canceled when discovered by the operator. 

Fanatics asked the MGC to include the second violation with the first, as it is a similar issue to what happened with the football bet. Last month, the commission found that “human error” led to the bowl game landing on the board after a toggle switch was accidentally turned on.

The MGC decided Thursday to have both non-compliance issues reviewed and sanctions determined by the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, reversing the original decision to send the first violation to an adjudicatory hearing. A date had not been set for that hearing because the commission learned of the other issue. 

A fine or potential revoking of a license by the IEB would need commission approval.  

Retail trouble

The brick-and-mortar sportsbook at MGM Springfield was found to have allowed a wager of less than $10 that involved Northeastern basketball.  

The game was part of an 8-leg parlay, and two of the selections in the parlay were graded as losses before the Northeastern contest began. Due to this, the bet was not refunded, as revealed by the commission's investigation.

The MGC decided to also send this matter to IEB for review.

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