BetMGM to Pay a $25,000 Fine over Failure to Comply with New Jersey’s Sports Betting Ban on College Teams and Games

BetMGM will have to pay a monetary fine of $25,000 for taking wagers worth less than $100 in 2021 on some college basketball games in New Jersey that were not supposed to be available for its customers to bet on.

Betting on college teams and any collegiate game played in New Jersey is currently banned under the provisions of state law, even if the games feature teams from other US states. Under the same piece of legislation, fans of Saint Peter’s University have been prevented from legally betting on the Sweet 16 game Friday of their Cinderella team.

In documents that were made public about a week ago, BetMGM, which is works in collaboration with the Borgata casino, faced a monetary fine of $25,000 imposed by the gambling regulators in New Jersey over a number of bets placed on a Rutgers University game and a tournament game. As revealed by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, the gambling operator accepted 2 bets on March 10th, 2021 on a game between Marist College and Niagara University that was set to be played on March 11th, 2021 in Atlantic City as part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

As mentioned above, BetMGM faced a monetary fine but the Division of Gaming Enforcement noted that the sports betting operator cast the blame on Entain PLC, which operates as its technology partner, for being responsible for a series of errors that eventually resulted in the bets on the game being improperly and illegally offered. According to the US betting company, it was Entain that usually heads the betting markets’ establishment – an activity that requires checking where a game is set to take place. BetMGM claims that Entain failed to flag the game as played in the Garden State.

BetMGM Blames Technical Partner Entain for the Failure

The Division of Gaming Enforcement further noted that the trading operations unit of Entain failed to spot the error, although it was supposed to verify the location of the game by hand. Also, the Division explained that an automated venue checking system is employed by the two companies, but the system was not used in this case because the program was not operational at the time.

The error was noticed by a member of the trading team of BetMGM about 40 minutes following the beginning of the bets, then voided the wagers and brought the money back to the customers who had placed them.

Only 10 days after the occurrence of the failure, the websites of BetMGM and Borgata casino offered a pre-made parlay – a multi-game bet combination – that involved a basketball game of the Rutgers University. It took BetMGM 8 hours to notice the error and take the offer down, with only a couple of people having taken the bet, for a total of $30 at the time. According to the Enforcement Division, the parlay had been created by an Australia-based Entain employee who did not manage to recognize Rutgers as a team based in the state of New Jersey.

Neither BetMGM nor Entain has commented on the situation, but reports say that the US sports betting operator entered into a settlement agreement with the competent authorities to pay the $25,000 fine.

Betting on in-state college teams is suspended not only in New Jersey but by other states, too, including Washington, New York, Virginia and South Dakota.

Local voters had been given the opportunity to bring some changes to the law in November 2021, but they overwhelmingly decided to defeat the proposed measure at a referendum, seeking to allow such bets. The original ban that was imposed on placing wagers on collegiate sports games in the state followed some concerns regarding the integrity of college athletics that have been revealed at the time by some local lawmakers.

If collegiate sports fans residing in New Jersey want to place legally on such games, they have to first leave the state to do so, with the states of Pennsylvania and New York being the closest options available.