Massachusetts Investigates Alleged Prohibited Collegiate Bets Accepted by BetMGM

Legal sports wagering has been gaining momentum in the US, with nearly 40 states currently allowing it. However, not all types of wagers are permitted in every state, and this is particularly true for in-state collegiate sports betting. Massachusetts is one such state that restricts wagering on in-state college sports, except for teams participating in tournaments of four or more teams.

Despite these restrictions, an alleged breach of the regulations occurred during the 2023 football season, involving major sports betting operator BetMGM. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) revealed that BetMGM reportedly accepted over $200,000 worth of improper wagers, totaling more than 15,000 bets on individual college athletes, which is prohibited in the state.

Cathy Judd-Stein, chair of the MGC, highlighted that the alleged violation was uncovered as part of an audit, rather than being self-reported by the operator. She emphasized the importance of resolving the matter swiftly to protect student-athletes, stating that prop bets on collegiate athletes are a statutory violation in Massachusetts.

In addition to BetMGM’s alleged breaches, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) also uncovered two minor violations involving other sportsbooks. These breaches were referred back to the IEB, while BetMGM’s case is set to undergo an adjudicatory hearing. This means that a court will hear the facts and determine if a penalty should be imposed, after which the MGC will make a decision on whether to approve or reject the penalty based on the severity of the breach.

The outcome of this case will not only have implications for BetMGM but also for the sports betting industry in Massachusetts as a whole. It serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to state regulations and the potential consequences of failing to do so.