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Massachusetts’ Three Casinos Fined for Taking Bets on In-State College Teams

Decent action on Harvard

All three casinos in Massachusetts have been fined by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for accepting illegal sports bets. The fines, announced Tuesday, total $50,000.

In February, MGM Springfield took wagers on two games involving in-state college teams. There are exceptions in cases when the team is involved in a tournament, but on the whole, colleges and universities that are located in the state are off-limits.

The games were on February 3, 2023 and February 4, 2023, when the Harvard men’s basketball team took on Yale and Brown, respectively. The MGC said that MGM Springfield sold a total of 28 tickets on the two games combined, all from kiosks. Two of the winning tickets were also redeemed at kiosks, while two more were redeemed at an in-person cashier.

MGM looked into the matter and determined that its sportsbook vendor, BetMGM, accidentally labeled Harvard as being in Connecticut, an error which has been fixed. The MGC fined MGM Springfield $20,000.

Merrimack attracting wagers

It was a similar situation at Plainridge Park, which took 33 wagers across 27 betting slips on a February 2, 2023 men’s basketball game between Merrimack College and Long Island University. Wagering was open for seven hours, but finally noticed by a Plainridge Park employee when a customer attempted to cash a winning ticket.

In all, Plainridge Park accepted $6,848 in wagers on the game and paid out $4,270 in winnings.

Kambi, the casino’s sportsbook vendor, had mistakenly marked Merrimack’s location as Florida instead of Massachusetts, hence why bets were able to be taken. Plainridge Park was also fined $20,000.

$10k for a lone bet

The smallest fine – $10,000 – was given to Encore Boston Harbor, likely because of the much lesser volume of betting in this instance.

Encore Boston Harbor took a single bet on a February 2, 2023 women’s basketball game between Boston College and Notre Dame. Not only was it just one bet, but it was part of a five-leg parlay. When the customer tried to cash out, that leg of the parlay was voided.

The customer used a kiosk, but did not use a player card, which is why the casino wasn’t able to tell the person of the ineligible bet until they went to cash the ticket.

For whatever reason, Boston College had two names in Encore Boston Harbor’s wagering platform, but only one was tagged as an in-state team, thus allowing bets to be placed.

All three violations were originally announced in February; it was not until now that the MGC doled out the fines.