Massachusetts Gaming Commission fines all three state casinos for offering illegal sports betting in February

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has fined all three land-based casinos in the state for taking illegal bets on state college sports at their sportsbooks, ordering a cumulative fine of $50,000 for violations that occurred in February. 

The cases date back to basketball games in early February, days after the launch of in-person sports betting at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casinos. Massachusetts law does not allow wagering on events that involve colleges in the state unless they are part of a tournament of at least four teams. 

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville was fined $20,000 for taking bets on a February 2nd regular season men’s basketball game between Merrimack College and Long Island University. Over 33 bets that were worth $6,800 were placed at the casino on that day. 

MGM Springfield was fined a $20,000 penalty for offering in-person betting on regular season Harvard men’s basketball games on February 3rd and 4th. On February 3rd, there was a Harvard versus Yale men’s basketball game, while on February 4th, a Harvard versus Brown men’s basketball game took place. Over $1,200 in bets were accepted on each event, as per the commission.

In both cases, the colleges were falsely stated as being from different states. While Plainridge Park Casino incorrectly labeled the North Andover College as being in Florida, MGM allowed betting on the Harvard games by mislabeling the Cambridge school as a Connecticut college.

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett was fined $10,000 for taking a wager on February 2nd during a regular season game involving the Boston College women’s basketball team versus Notre Dame. The wagering on the game was part of a five-game parlay with $70 total put on the line.

The gaming commission determined the incidents were “a serious violation” of statute, regulation, and the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog and said the fines were intended as “both a consequence for violating state law and commission regulations and as a deterrent from letting the same or similar violations occur again.”