Encore Boston Harbor took bets on a Boston College women's basketball game and Plainridge Park Casino accepted wagers on a Merrimack College men's basketball game during the first week of legal sports betting, both in violation of the Massachusetts betting law that prohibits betting on in-state collegiate events in nearly all circumstances.
A Gaming Commission lawyer briefed commissioners Thursday morning on the non-compliance events," which initially came to some light Tuesday when the commission posted a meeting agenda that referenced an investigation. But the commission is not expected to take any action Thursday -- Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said she has asked the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and legal staff to be prepared for a more in-depth discussion Tuesday.
Chief Enforcement Counsel Heather Hall said Thursday morning that Encore took bets for about five hours on a BC women's basketball game and that Plainridge took bets for about seven hours on a Merrimack men's basketball game.
Both incidents were reported to the commission by the operators themselves. Hall declined to answer a question about the amount wagered on each unauthorized event, deferring it to Tuesday when a more complete report is expected.
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"Due to a a data input error by one of our vendors, we notified and self reported a violation to the MGC. We regret that this mistake happened, take full responsibility, and have added several remedial steps to our compliance process to help prevent this from happening again," Plainridge Park General Manager North Grounsell said.
A spokesperson for Encore Boston Harbor did not immediately respond to a request for more information. When Massachusetts lawmakers legalized sports wagering in August, after months of debate and discussion, they specifically excluded betting on most events involving Massachusetts colleges and universities.
The only time wagering on an event featuring a Massachusetts school is allowed is if the team is participating in a tournament of at least four schools.
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During the build-up to approval of sports betting, Boston College led a charge among athletic directors and university presidents asking that Beacon Hill not all any wagering on college sports.
The Senate sports betting bill did not allow any college betting, but that was a sticking point for the House and the compromise bill produced the in-state carveout.