BetMGM NJ Fined $25,000 for Allowing In-State College Wagers

Four illegal wagers totaling $85 were made (and then voided) after errors were made regarding Rutgers’ location by traders for BetMGM and Entain based outside the US.
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By
March 29, 2022

BetMGM Sportsbook NJ landed in hot water with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) for accepting wagers on in-state college sports on two occasions in March 2021.

Wagers on college sporting events in New Jersey are illegal under the state constitution. Bets on sporting events in which a college team from New Jersey is participating are also illegal, regardless of where the event takes place.

The NJDGE said BetMGM and Entain, which owns half of the operator, violated both rules due to a series of errors by its employees — some of whom were based outside the US.

According to a complaint filed by the NJDGE (included below), the first incident occurred on March 10, 2021, when BetMGM — which operates under the Borgata license — allowed wagers to be placed on an upcoming MAAC quarterfinal between Niagara University and Marist College. The game was scheduled to be played in Atlantic City the next day.

The NJDGE said wagering was available for about 40 minutes on both the BetMGM and Borgata websites before the operator realized the error and took it down. Two wagers totaling $55 were made during that time. BetMGM voided both wagers and returned the stakes to the bettors.

BetMGM said the wagers “resulted from a sequence of errors” that started when a Philippines-based trader for Entain — which owns half of BetMGM in a joint venture with MGM Resorts International — failed to flag the event as being played in New Jersey. The event was instead listed as occurring at a neutral venue and the trader did not perform any additional checks to confirm the venue’s location.

Entain also missed the error. The NJDGE said an operator with the company’s UK-based Trading Operations Team was required to manually verify the location of the game but didn’t do so, due to its designation of being played at a neutral location. The regulator said Entain and BetMGM both failed to use an automated venue checking program — a copy of the program was not in use by the supervisor on duty because the program “had become corrupt and was not functioning.”

A member of BetMGM’s trading team discovered the error while conducting a routine hourly check of the BetMGM and Borgata websites, the regulator said.

The second incident occurred on March 20, 2021, when the BetMGM and Borgata websites both offered a pre-made parlay that included a game between Rutgers and the University of Houston. The parlay was removed from both websites after a BetMGM trader based in New Jersey conducted a manual review of the pre-made parlays — but two bets totaling $30 were made during the eight hours that wagering was available. Both bets were voided and the stakes returned to players.

The game was played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Houston won, 63-60.

According to the NJDGE, a trader for Entain based in Australia “created the pre-made parlay but failed to identify Rutgers University as being located in New Jersey.” The trader received a verbal reprimand and was re-trained on New Jersey markets, the regulator said.

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