Retail sportsbooks have only been live in Massachusetts since January 31, 2023. In the short time that the market has been live, however, sportsbooks have failed to uphold regulations surrounding betting on college sports. All three sports betting locales in Massachusetts have been fined for illegally accepting college basketball bets.
Massachusetts law specifically restricts college betting on in-state teams during the regular season. Plainridge Park Casino, Encore Boston Harbor, and MGM Springfield have all been issued fines from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
Rough Start For Massachusetts Retail Books
According to the commission, all three violations were self-reported to the MGC. The commission has met with the intent of determining how they will deal with the violations. With online sportsbooks slated to launch on March 10, the aim is to set the goalpost for these types of incidents.
“The commission, this early on and as I said earlier in its infancy, needs to set the goalposts,” said Jordan Maynard, Commissioner. “I want to set the goalposts with my fellow commissioners early on, and then see how it’s working. And I know that’s going to create a little bit more work on the front end, both for the commissioners and for the IEB … but I think later on, it’s gonna be very beneficial to the entire organization.”
Closer Look At The Violations
The Plainridge Park violations occurred on February 2, 2023, during the Merrimack College vs. Long Island University men’s basketball game. There were 33 bets placed on this matchup with bettors winning $4,270 from $6,848 in total wagers. Chief Enforcement Counsel Heather Hall stated the issue arose when the sportsbook listed Merrimack College as located in Florida instead of Massachusetts.
Encore Harbor’s violation came from a Boston College women’s basketball game on the same day. Boston College was facing Notre Dame and odds were available between 12:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. One wager was placed on this matchup on a $70 five-leg parlay.
MGM Springfield’s violations took place on February 3 and February 4. This was Harvard vs. Brown’s men’s basketball matchup.
How The Commission Plans To Deal With The Violations
At the MGC Tuesday meeting, the commission decided that they will have the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau review the cases. Following this, the commission would determine the penalties based on the findings of the bureau.
“We’ve had three of these now in a week and a half’s time,” said Nakisha Skinner, commissioner. “I don’t know what the volume is going to be, but certainly as we were reviewing operator applications we learned that these are relatively routine — and I’m not sure if we use the word routine — but they’re relatively routine matters.”
More details are pending regarding how severe the repercussions of these violations from Massachusetts college basketball bets will be. The young Massachusetts sports betting market is already seeing