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All three Massachusetts casinos took illegal sports bets for basketball games

Encore Boston Harbor casino, Plainridge Park and MGM Springfield have all disclosed reports of illegal sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) within the last few weeks. 

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All three casinos have reported violating the Massachusetts sports betting law prohibiting wagering on in-state college teams. There is one exception, which allows betting on tournaments like March Madness.

Sports betting was only made legal in Massachusetts two weeks ago and, as such, the MGC doesn’t have an exhaustive amount of regulations in place to deal with these sorts of matters. The committee discussed at their meeting on 14 February that they had expected to encounter violations in the early days of betting. 

It was also revealed during this meeting, that one of the vendors had mistakenly based one of the teams in Florida rather than Massachusetts. The committee is seeking clarification on this, as there is no college of the same name in Florida.

Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said on Tuesday: “This is an important first decision-making point on these matters.”

Plainridge Park had accepted 33 bets on a Merrimack College vs Long Island University basketball game, accounting for almost $7,000 in wagers. 

Encore Boston Harbor casino had received a single bet on the Boston College vs Notre Dame women’s basketball game. This was flagged early, as the investigation had found that women’s teams had not been initially included in the list of prohibited bets. 

MGM Springfield took two bets for a Harvard University men’s basketball game. 

The MGC agreed to take steps towards an adjudicatory hearing, where the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and operators can present their cases. After reviewing all of the information, they will be able to determine what kind of penalties the casinos should expect.

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