2 Sportsbooks Accept Illegal Bets On In-State Massachusetts Schools

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on February 10, 2023
2 MA sportsbooks accept illegal bets and self-report the incident

Only a few weeks into Massachusetts sports betting and two casinos have already accepted unauthorized sports bets. 

A report by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) showed Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor accepted bets on in-state college basketball teams.

This is a clear violation of MA gaming law which prohibits betting on teams involving schools based in Massachusetts. Bettors can, however, place bets on an MA-based college or university team if they are competing in a sanctioned tournament involving at least four schools, such as the NCAA Tournament

Both casinos self-reported the incidents to the MGC leading commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein to commend the casino sportsbook operators.

Massachusetts sports betting violations at each casino

The Encore Boston Harbor violation occurred when the WynnBET Sportsbook allowed gambling on a Boston College women’s basketball game for five hours.

Over at Plainridge Park, its partner, the Barstool Sportsbook, mistakenly accepted bets on a men’s basketball game involving Merrimack College for several hours.

Judd-Stein said the MGC would revisit the situation during its Feb. 14 meeting, when the commission will have additional information. Currently, no figures are available showing how much money was wagered on these unauthorized bets.

Both sportsbooks self-reported the action, that’s a good sign

Heather Hall, Chief Enforcement Counsel for the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of the MGC, said self-reporting is a “key component” when determining fines and penalties. 

Judd-Stein said: “We want to assure the public that we have remedial steps in place to prohibit such betting concerns (in the future).”

On Thursday, the MGC also floated a potential MA online sports betting launch date. MGC Executive Director Karen Wells said the first online sportsbooks could potentially start taking bets on Friday, Mar. 10.

The NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament begins on Mar. 14, and the women’s tournament starts the following day.

With Super Bowl betting around the corner, the commission said it would take the weekend to iron out specifics on when to launch online sports betting. 

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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