The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has received a report from its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau accusing one of the state’s prominent online sportsbooks of violating state wagering regulations. BetMGM, the sportsbook in question, is accused of allowing player prop bets on college athletes, which is a clear violation of Massachusetts’ state gaming regulations.
Player props involve bets on an individual’s performance, such as whether a running back will run for a certain number of yards during a game. However, in Massachusetts, collegiate player props are strictly prohibited in order to protect student-athletes from threats and harassment from disgruntled bettors.
The MGC Investigations and Enforcement Bureau revealed that an audit of BetMGM’s operations found that the sportsbook had wrongly accepted at least 15,000 player prop bets involving college athletes, with action on the bets exceeding $200,000. These bets were predominantly made during the 2023 college football season. The MGC expressed its displeasure at the operator’s ignorance of a major regulation in the state’s sports betting industry.
MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein emphasized the importance of resolving the matter quickly to protect student-athletes, echoing the sentiment shared by NCAA President Charlie Baker. Other state governors, such as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, have also spoken out against college player prop bets.
The MGC has referred the BetMGM matter to the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau for an adjudicatory hearing, where BetMGM will be given the opportunity to present its case. Depending on the hearing’s outcome, the MGC will decide whether penalties are warranted, which could include financial fines or license revocation.
This isn’t the first time BetMGM has faced regulatory issues in Massachusetts. Last summer, the MGC fined the sportsbook $20,000 for allowing bets on Harvard men’s basketball games, a violation of the state’s regulations. BetMGM attributed the mishap to an employee mistakenly labeling Harvard as being in Connecticut, allowing bets on the Ivy League program for approximately 21 hours before the error was noticed.
BetMGM is a retail and online sportsbook co-owned by MGM Resorts International, running the sportsbook at MGM Springfield and offering online betting in Massachusetts. The company now faces potential penalties for its latest violation of state gaming regulations.