SPRINGFIELD — Betting on two off-limits college events dinged MGM Springfield with a $20,000 fine, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday.
A February review by its vendor, BetMGM, revealed that the casino offered wagers on two Harvard University men’s basketball games, one on Feb. 3 against Yale University and the other on Feb. 4 against Brown University; the review looked at all bets placed at the Springfield casino since the launch of sports wagering in the state, which began Jan. 31.
Betting on Massachusetts college teams is prohibited under state law, if those teams are not involved in tournament play.
Wagering was allowed erroneously on Harvard games, because BetMGM had incorrectly listed Harvard as being in Connecticut. BetMGM has confirmed that the sites of all Bay State college teams are now correctly designated.
The illegal wagering took place at kiosks for roughly 21 hours each, and a total of 28 tickets were sold on the two men’s basketball events. Two winning tickets were redeemed at the sportsbook counter, and two others were redeemed at a kiosk.
MGM learned of “potential noncompliance events” after noticing other incidents of noncompliance elsewhere in the industry and then launched its internal review.
After the review, MGM Springfield informed the Gaming Commission of the breach of law.
Thomas Mills, communications division chief for the commission, wrote in an email on Tuesday, since the launch of sports wagering, there have been three violations.
“All note a self-report of the respective incidents,” Mills said. The Gaming Commission noted in its statement that it appreciates the act of self-reporting.
The commission on Tuesday levied a cumulative $50,000 in fines for violations that occurred in the earliest days of legal sports wagering here. Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville was fined $20,000 for taking bets on a Feb. 2 regular season men’s basketball game between Merrimack College and Long Island University, and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett was fined $10,000 for taking a bet on a Feb. 2 regular season game involving the Boston College women’s basketball team.
The difference in the fine amounts appears to stem from the details of the incidents themselves. At Plainridge, its sportsbook took 33 wagers worth $6,848 on a forbidden Merrimack game (the North Andover college was incorrectly labeled as being in Florida) and wagering was available for about seven hours.
The Encore incident involved one bet being placed on a prohibited Boston College women’s basketball game. Encore realized its error before the game started and voided the BC leg of that parlay wager.
The Everett casino took additional illegal bets on BC women’s hoops later in February after “the system automatically turned it back on” as an event open to wagers, but the second apparent violation was not addressed Tuesday.
The commission has held other hearings on the two separate sports wagering incidents, which included Encore Boston Harbor and DraftKings, which “accepted wagers on a tennis league that was not approved,” Mills said.
“No information on an action has been released,” Mills said.
Since the MGM incidents, the casino has introduced several preventative measures, which include daily audits of potential offerings, periodic quality control reviews, verifications of newly added information, quarterly audits and vigilance coaching to confirm continued accuracy.
MGM Springfield did not respond immediately to request for comment. BetMGM is a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain Holdings.
State House News Service contributed to this report.