On Dec. 13, 2022, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) fined BetMGM $146,000 for accepting online sports bets in Maryland without holding a valid betting license. According to this notice sent out by the MLGCABetMGM began accepting bets prior to it being authorized to do so.
Maryland is one of the states that has recently legalized sports betting in the wake of the groundbreaking Supreme Court PASPA decision. Many other states have done so as well; Maine just legalized sports wagers earlier this year.
The MLGCA is responsible for regulating all Maryland lottery and gambling activities, and it is responsible for issuing the proper licenses and accreditation to all operators in the state.
What is BetMGM?
Although most of our readers are probably somewhat familiar with BetMGM, we will at least briefly discuss the brand. BetMGM is a large gambling and sports entertainment brand. The brand is a partnership between Entain Holdings and MGM Resorts International.
MGM Resorts International is well-known for running some of the largest casinos, like the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas and throughout the world. BetMGM is the company’s sports betting arm, which was founded in July of 2018. The brand is heavily focused on offering online sports betting although it is also responsible for operating all MGM live sportsbooks as well.
BetMGM now offers sports betting in at least 20 U.S. states and Washington D.C. Despite this fine and the difficulties that BetMGM has had, the company is fully operational in Maryland and has been accepting bets since Nov. 23 of this year.
What Did BetMGM Do Wrong?
The MLGCA released a notice that states that BetMGM started accepting sports bets online on Nov. 16, 2022. BetMGM was accepting these bets through its mobile application. Sports betting was not legalized until a soft launch took place on Nov. 21. Sports betting was set to become fully legal and debut on Nov. 23.
A BetMGM representative said that the company accidentally started accepting bets early after it sent certain customers a link that allowed them to the live BetMGM sportsbook. The representative claimed that the entire situation was accidental.
The Largest Fine in History
The $146,000 fine is now the largest that the MLGCA has ever levied by a long shot. The Managing Director of the MLGCA, John Mooney, said that the largest fine before this was only $5,000. The substantial increase was clearly intended to set a precedent that this kind of behavior will not be allowed.
The Commissioner of the MLGCA, Harold Hodges, made it clear that he wanted to impose a heavier fine or a more severe punishment. Hodges had the following to say on the matter:
I’m frankly opposed to it. I think if anything, they should have their license withdrawn until we look at it.
What can we do system wide so this doesn’t happen again?
Although the fine is significantly larger than any other fines issued by the MLGCA, it seems like Commissioner Hodges’ sentiments ring true. $146,000 is a very small amount when considering the size of this business. BetMGM has already booked more than $15 million in sports wagers in its first month of operation in Maryland.
Many Regulated Operators Offer Sports Betting in Maryland
Since the recent legalization and regulation, sports betting has been incredibly popular across the state of Maryland. There are a total of 12 approved operators with only seven currently operating online. The seven regulated internet sportsbooks in Maryland are listed below alongside the total amount of wagers that each has accepted in November 2022.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: $89.9 million
- DraftKings Sportsbook: $69.6 million
- BetMGM: $15.07 million
- Barstool Sportsbook: $5.7 million
- Caesars Sportsbook: $3.5 million
- PointsBet: $1.7 million
- Bet Rivers (Rush Street Interactive): $631,175
Plenty of Gambling Online Throughout U.S.
For players who reside in the U.S., there are plenty of trustworthy offshore sportsbooks available on the internet. Our expert gamblers have tested and tried numerous sports betting sites with our own real money. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to head over and check out this extensive article on the best U.S. sportsbooks online. Even if you reside in a state like Maryland that offers regulated in-state betting, there are reputable offshore options that may offer additional bonuses and perks.
For any U.S. folks who may be interested in our primary focus here at ProfessionalRakeback.com, poker, then we would suggest checking out this exhaustive guide to playing online poker in the United States. Players in Maryland and throughout the rest of the United States have numerous offshore poker sites at their disposal to choose from.