A manual entry error at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Bellagio on Sunday morning cost the casino nearly a quarter million dollars. It is not known exactly how many bettors took advantage, but BetMGM did confirm that the significant amount of damage was done on only about 50 bets.
The customers placed their wagers on KBO (Korea) and Chinese Professional Baseball League games. The games began at 1am and 2am PT, but whoever input the contests in BetMGM’s system accidentally entered the wrong start time. Bettors were able to continue to place wagers on pre-game lines as late as around 4am.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, it might be the largest loss a Vegas sportsbook has taken because of a mistake. While mistakes are inevitable, seven “longtime” bookmakers could not think of a time when bettors were able to take advantage to such an extent.
Had the correct start time been posted, the betting would have closed when the games started. According to ESPN.com, one example of a wager found on many tickets was the NC Dinos -110 over the Doosan Bears and under 9 total runs. The game was scoreless in the fifth inning when the Dinos hit a three-run homer at 2:28am Vegas time. Those who were able to bet on the Dinos up three halfway through the game had a sizeable advantage on the house. Similarly, the game was well on pace to end up under the total.
The NC Dinos won 5-0. Both bets came in.
Another frequent bet was on the 9.5 run over in the game between KT Wiz Suwon and Hanwha Eagles. The teams combined to score seven runs in the first two innings; any bets that came in after that were nearly a lock to win. Suwon won 8-4, so the over was hit.
One customer won a ten-leg parlay for over $137,000. Elisa Richardson, head of BetMGM communications and public relations, actually tweeted an image of the parlay ticket, but took it down a few hours later. Another bettor won an eight-leg parlay for more than $11,000.
Waiting for regulator decision
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is investigating the situation, a normal course of action, as sportsbooks must report any dispute over $500. When the investigation is complete, the NGCB will make a ruling that BetMGM will have to accept.
Common practice in Nevada seems to leave things open to interpretation. The Review-Journal reports that Nevada house rules state that if there is an obvious mistake, be it human or otherwise, the side that was harmed is protected. At the same time, however, there is another rule that “tickets go as written.” Both rules contradict each other in this case.
The other standard practice in these situations is for the sportsbook to give the bettor the option to return the money, get their wager back, and be free to visit the sportsbook again or keep the money and be banned. Most of the time, the bettor returns the money and that’s that because the amount in question is usually small, not worth a banishment. But in this case, with at least one six-figure and one-five figure score, the customer will have a decision to make if the NGCB rules against the sportsbook.