BetMGM fined $25K by NJ for placing bets on banned basketball games

BetMGM placed less than $100 in bets on New Jersey college basketball games last year that were not allowed to be wagered. It will now pay a $25,000 penalty.

BetMGM fined $25K by NJ for placing bets on banned basketball games

The state law forbids betting on New Jersey college team and any other collegiate games played in New Jersey, even if the teams are from other states. The same law prevents fans of Jersey City-based Saint Peter's University to legally bet on Friday's Sweet 16 match.

Other states have also banned betting on college teams within their state, such as Washington, South Dakota and Virginia.

New Jersey voters had the opportunity to amend this law last November. However, they overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that would have allowed for such bets. Some lawmakers were concerned about the integrity of college athletics and so the original ban was put in place.

New Jersey residents who want to legally bet on Saint Peter's will need to travel to another state. New York and Pennsylvania are close options.

New Jersey's gambling regulators issued documents last week that showed BetMGM was fined for placing bets on a tournament and on a Rutgers University match.

BetMGMGM accepted two wagers on March 10, 2021 by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement on a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament game between Niagara University, Marist College. The match was to be played in Atlantic City on the following day.

BetMGM was fined by the enforcement division, but the company also pointed out that Entain PLC, its technology partner, was responsible for the series of mistakes that resulted in the improperly offered bets. BetMGM informed the Enforcement Division that Entain usually initiates the creation betting markets. This process includes checking the location of the game, but Entain failed flag the game as being in New Jersey.

Entain and BetMGMGM were unable to respond to comment requests on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, BetMGMGM reached a settlement with the state in which they will pay $25,000 for the fine.

Entain's trading division was also accused of failing to spot the error. It was required to manually check the spreadsheet listing all events and the locations they will be played. It was also stated that the companies use an automated venue-checking system. However, it was not used because the program was not available at the time.

BetMGM's trading staff noticed the error forty minutes after they were placed. They voided the bets and returned the money to those who placed them.

Ten days later, BetMGMGM and Borgata offered a premade parlay (or multi-game bet combination) that involved a Rutgers basketball match. The parlay was made available for eight hours, but BetMGM realized the error and removed it. Only two people placed the wager for $30.

According to the enforcement division, an Entain employee in Australia had created the parlay but did not recognize Rutgers in New Jersey as a New Jersey-based team. The parlay was therefore ineligible for betting.


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