Nearly 40 states in the US have legalized sports betting, but not all of them allow all types of wagers. Some states, like Massachusetts, restrict betting on in-state collegiate sports teams. Currently, Massachusetts only allows betting on in-state college sports teams that participate in tournaments of four or more teams, and prohibits prop betting on in-state collegiate teams. However, during the 2023 football season, major sports betting operator BetMGM allegedly accepted prohibited prop bets on individual college athletes, leading to a meeting with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
The MGC claimed that BetMGM accepted over $200,000 worth of improper wagers, totaling more than 15,000 bets during the 2023 college football season. While breaches of gambling regulations are often self-reported by operators, this violation was uncovered during an audit, according to MGC chair Cathy Judd-Stein. She emphasized that prop bets on collegiate athletes are a statutory violation in Massachusetts, and expressed her personal interest in resolving the matter quickly to protect student-athletes.
In addition to the alleged violations by BetMGM, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) uncovered two minor breaches involving retail sportsbook and Fanatics Sportsbook accepting separate prohibited wagers for college games, each under $10. While these were sent back to the IEB, the Commission referred BetMGM’s alleged breaches to the IEB for an adjudicatory hearing, where a court will determine if a penalty is necessary. Depending on the severity of the breach, the MGC will then decide whether to approve or reject the penalty.