BetMGM has been issued a $145,000 fine in Maryland for taking online sports bets ahead of the official start date.
Maryland soft-launched online sports betting on November 21, 2022. BetMGM jumped the gun by taking online sports bets as early as November 16 according to the Maryland Lottery Gaming Commission. Due to the violation the Maryland Lottery Gaming Commission issued the fine against BetMGM in a settlement that was announced late last week. (More Maryland sports betting legalization news)
It was the largest fine in the 49-year history of the Commission, easily surpassing the previous record fine of $5,000.
Why was BetMGM fined in Maryland?
BetMGM admitted that more than 140 online sports bets were placed on their platform during a three-hour window when it operated without a license. Anyone who placed a bet during this window had their bet voided and refunded and received a $50 credit in their account.
According to BetMGM, the illegal sports bets were the result of a controlled demo that went wrong. Links that were supposed to go to a coming soon page instead directed bettors to the sportsbook where the bets were placed and accepted by the system.
Despite the record-setting fine not all Commissioners were satisfied with the outcome of the settlement. Commission Harold Hodges called the fine “no more powerful than a slap on the hand.” Hodges also called on the Commission to reform policies as more operators in the state run into technical issues. Hodges was the only Commissioner to vote against the settlement agreement.
It’s possible that BetMGM’s trouble in Maryland could affect their status in other state’s where they’re awaiting approval on sports betting license. On the same day the Maryland fine was announced Massachusetts sports betting regulators voted to delay a vote on BetMGM retail sports betting license.