BetMGM was waiting for NGCB decision
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has given the BetMGM sportsbook at Bellagio permission to cancel a series of June baseball wagers that were placed after games began. A manual entry error in the BetMGM system cost the sportsbook more than $200,000; now it is off the hook if it opts not to pay out winnings.
An MGM spokesperson told ESPN on Wednesday that it plans to void the bets and refund customers’ initial wagers. The NGCB did not comment, but MGM confirmed that the Board ruled in its favor. At least two bettors involved also confirmed to ESPN that their wagers are being reversed.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had the bets stood, it would have likely been the largest loss a Vegas sportsbook had ever taken because of a mistake.
Wrong start time created major headache
Without Major League Baseball, whose abbreviated season finally began on Thursday, baseball bettors looked to the KBO (Korea) and Chinese Professional Baseball League for wagering opportunities. Several games began at 1am and 2am Las Vegas time on Sunday, June 28. The person who input the games into BetMGM’s system, however, accidentally entered the wrong start time. As a result, a group of bettors was able to place about 50 parlay bets well after the games started, as late as about 4am in some instances.
One bet that appeared on many the tickets in question was a parlay of the NC Dinos at -110 over the Doosan Bears and the total score under nine runs. Neither team scored until the fifth inning when the Dinos hit a three-run homer. Since people at the Bellagio were still able to bet at that point, putting money on the Dinos and the under had an excellent chance of winning. And it did, as the Dinos won 5-0.
In another game, between KT Wiz Suwon and the Hanwha Eagles, the total was 9.5. In the first two innings, the two teams scored a combined seven runs, resulting in many of the Bellagio bettors taking the over. It was nearly a sure bet, as just three more runs were needed in seven innings. With a final score of 8-4, the over bets came in.
One customer won a ten-leg parlay for more than $137,000. Another won an eight-leg parlay for over $11,000; BetMGM head communications and public relations Elisa Richardson even tweeted a picture of that winning ticket, taking it down after the problem was discovered.
Mistakes happen, just not this large
Naturally, BetMGM did not want to have to pay out over $200,000 in customer winnings because of a data entry error. But before it could void any tickets, it was required to get clearance from the NGCB.
Betting on a contest after it begins is not an every day occurrence, but it happens often enough that it has a name: “past-posting.” Because the matches are entered manually, mistakes happen, just not to the extent that they did about a month ago.
Typically, if a past-post bet is made and the sportsbook wants to cancel a ticket, the common practice in Las Vegas is to give the customer two options: accept a refund on the bet and be welcomed back or keep the winnings and be banned from the sportsbook. The vast majority of the time, the dollar amounts are small enough where customers have no problem with a refund, but in this case, with so much money at stake, there was a real question as to what might happen.
It is not clear from reports if any tickets had already been paid out, but it does sound like, with the NGCB’s permission to void bets, that BetMGM won’t be out much, if any, money.