The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held hearings Tuesday with a pair of retail sports betting operators to discuss potential penalties for accepted illegal wagers.
While the MGC discussed improper wagers accepted at Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET) and Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook), it issued no immediate decisions related to the infractions. Those are expected to be issued in writing at a later date.
Each violation stemmed from unique rules in Massachusetts related to wagering on in-state college teams. Massachusetts only allows such wagering when the teams participate in tournaments with four or more teams, meaning most regular-season games are off limits.
Encore Boston Harbor took bets on a BC women's basketball game and Plainridge Park Casino accepted wagers on a Merrimack College men's basketball game during the first week of legal sports betting, both in violation of the Massachusetts betting law. https://t.co/pGTwTzSo1k
— NBC10 Boston (@NBC10Boston) February 9, 2023
Encore accepts disallowed basketball bet
Encore Boston Harbor allowed wagers on Feb. 2 on a Boston College women’s basketball game for about five hours. The error stemmed from supplier GAN failing to place a block on the game, and additional clarification was given Tuesday as to how the mistake occurred.
Previously, the MGC believed that all women’s college basketball games were available for wagering at the WynnBET retail location. That wasn’t the case, as the Boston College women’s basketball team was the only unblocked in-state college team on Feb. 2. The failure to block bets on the Eagles was because the women’s basketball team had two separate names in GAN’s system, and the company only blocked one of the names.
“The situation that happened, it was actually an anomaly,” said Rob Lekites, GAN’s vice president of North American sports betting sales and operations. “It was the only Massachusetts college team that had two names for it in our system.”
Boston College was listed as both “Boston College women’s basketball” and “Boston College Eagles women’s basketball” in GAN’s system. The error was quickly remedied once the involved parties realized the error.
“We regret accidentally offering wagering on the Boston College women’s basketball game. … As our system matures, we anticipate these events will be far more unlikely,” said Jacqui Krum, senior vice president and general counsel at Encore Boston Harbor.
College issue trips up Plainridge Park
Plainridge Park Casino allowed in-person retail bets for seven hours on Feb. 2 on a Merrimack College men’s basketball game. Merrimack was mistakenly listed in technology vendor Kambi’s system as a Florida college.
A total of 33 wagers were accepted on the game between Merrimack and Long Island University. The error has since been corrected and is not expected to occur again at the retail sportsbook or on Barstool Sportsbook’s mobile sports betting platform. Mobile sports wagering went live in Massachusetts last week.
“We regret this error,” Plainridge Park General Manager North Grounsell said. “We ask the commission to consider in mitigation our prompt discovery and self report, our open and transparent communication regarding this [issue], and our prompt implementation of a remediation procedure.”