Illegal Bets Cause Mass. Gaming to Rethink Regulations

Updated On Feb 15, 2023 by Ella McDonald

Massachusetts gaming commissionSummary

  • Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor accepted illegal bets
  • MGM Springfield accepted illegal college basketball bets.
  • Sportsbooks are not allowed to offer betting on games that involved state schools.

Sports betting is only two weeks old in Massachusetts, and already issues have occurred. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently held a meeting to discuss how to handle the recent violations that occurred regarding three different sports betting companies.

Violations were expected as the state welcomed this new industry, but now, the Commission must figure out how to deal with the issues and avoid the same problems in the future.

Understanding the Limits of Legal Wagers in the State

Regulators expected that as the industry began, there might be problems connected to compliance. Just last week, the Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor accepted illegal wagers on regular season college basketball games. This is a common practice, but the games in question involved schools from Massachusetts, which is a big no-no.


Soon after, it was discovered the MGM Springfield also accepted illegal bets in the same manner. In early February, the company allowed wagers on Harvard’s men’s basketball. The violations were self-reported and recognized by sportsbooks.

It seems the incidents were mistakes and not a purposeful challenge to the law. Plainridge allowed wagers on Merrimack College basketball games thinking it was the college in Florida and not Massachusetts. Some bets were placed by individuals on kiosks and others were made at betting windows.

Encore had a wager on a Boston College women’s basketball game and realized the error before the ticket as cashed it, so the game leg was canceled within the bet parlay.

How Does the Commission Handle Such Violations?

During the meeting, the Commission discussed the violations and how they would handle the issues now and such cases in the future. After reviewing operator applications, the regulators have learned that such violations are common and do take place.

The Commission plans to move forward with a hearing when the operators and the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will be presenting information on the individual incidents. After this, the Commission can decide if any penalties will be issued.

The Commission wants to be involved and ensure that the new sports betting industry in Massachusetts is set up well so it can be successful. Goalposts will be set early on so that the Commission can see how the industry and is working and make changes as needed.

More work will be required of regulators but in the end, it will benefit the entire industry, which will be better for the Commission, the sportsbooks, the players, and the state.

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Ella McDonald Author

Worldwide gambling related news stories are what you will find being written by Ella, she has a keen interest however in UK and European based new stories relating to all gaming environments, and she is always prepared to ask the difficult questions many other journalists avoiding asking those in power.

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Christopher Meyer
Christopher Meyer
1 year ago

I’m interested in touching base with Ella regarding her June 1, 2020 article on Imperial Pacific Casino in Saipan. I can be reached at [email protected].