04/10/2023

The scene is growing in Pennsylvania but that doesn’t mean it should come with relaxed regulations. When rules are broken, eventually it all comes up.

$7.5K Fine Over Illegal Sports Betting on Boxing

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) jointly fined casino operator BetMGM and sports wagering operator Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association (MTRA) over illegal wagers. The fine was the result of a Board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC) consent agreement that PGCB approved during its Wednesday meeting. The infringement in question concerned accepting an unauthorized wager on a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort that took place on September 11, 2021.

The approved consent agreement resulted in a $7,500 fine, following negotiations between OEC and MTRA, as well as BetMGM, agreeing to pay out the wagers on the Holyfield vs Belfort match. BetMGM has reportedly accepted 76 wagers in total, despite the PGCB specifically informing operators that the match was off-limits for wagering activities.

This is especially important as details surrounding the match were also making headlines during that time. Belfort was supposed to be matched up against Oscar De La Hoya, who wasn’t able to step on the ring following a positive COVID test. This eventually led to Holyfield accepting the match on very short notice, increasing speculation, especially in gambling circles.

Minors Exposed to Gambling a Growing Issue

Aside from the fine, PGCB also moved with moving five adults into the Involuntary Exclusion List – effectively banning them from all PA casinos – over leaving children unattended at or near casino venues. A report by PennWATCH has provided more information on the individuals, citing that so far in 2022, the PGCB has identified a total of 285 incidents of adults leaving children unattended in order to gamble. These incidents involved 464 minors.

It was less than a month ago when the PGCB launched its “Don’t Gamble with Kids” campaign. It was aimed at warning patrons visiting casinos during the busy Thanksgiving weekend to not bring their children along, or at least to not leave them alone while gambling. PGCB’s information from back before that weekend stated 269 cases regarding 441 minors left unattended by adults gambling. The campaign also contained a few public service announcements.

BetMGM’s $7,500 fine is only slightly lower than the $10,000 fine that Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment – the operator of Parx Casino – received over an incident involving an 18-year-old male being able to enter the establishment and play at a casino table. The minimum gambling age in Pennsylvania is 21.
The topic of underage gambling has been gaining popularity lately, with both the UK, as well as Australia appearing in headlines over issues with it. In the case of Australia, this was especially shocking, as a recent report by the Alliance for Gambling Reform said that more than 430,000 kids under 16 were gambling in the country, with 40,000 categorized as at-risk gamblers, and 14,400 already identified as problem gamblers.

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