BetMGM Error Results in Huge Losses

An error with BetMGM that allowed bettors to wager on current events has potentially resulted in the largest sportsbook loss in the history of Las Vegas. The mistake, which is believed to be a result of human error, helped a number of bettors win roughly $250,000 dollars on Sunday.

A pitcher throws ball to batter in baseball game.

The BetMGM sportsbook may have been hit with the largest losses in Las Vegas history after a number of bets exploited an error at the Bellagio hotel on Sunday morning. © Free-Photos/Pixabay

Most of the bets that were made that exploited the error were made with BetMGM’s self-bet kiosks at the Bellagio sportsbook in Vegas. It is still not clear how many of the betting tickets have already been cashed off, though it’s possible the bets aren’t legally binding.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is currently investigating whether it can void the wins, though it has not yet commented on the matter. However, the NGCB has regulations that determine that some wagers can be voided in the case of human, technological, or computing error.

Whatever the case, the NGCB states that sportsbooks are unable to rescind paying wagers without being approved by the board chairperson. It is believed that these mistakes happen at least a few times a year for different operators though are rarely publicized due to the small size of the wins.

According to a number of Nevada sportsbook executives, in these cases, error-exploiting bettors are usually given two options. The first allows them to keep the full winnings in exchange for being permanently banned from the sportsbook. The other allows them to refund the tickets in exchange for being allowed to continue betting.

While the alternative generally seems like the preferred option to bettors due to the relatively small size of winnings, it’s possible that this week’s bettors won’t agree to option two. This is because one winner, who used the BetMGM on his phone, won roughly $137,000 with a10-leg parlay.

It is not clear how many other players exploited the betting issue, though it’s known that all bets were placed between 1 AM and 4 AM on Sunday morning. All bets were placed on baseball games in the KBO League and the Chinese Professional Baseball League that started between 1 AM and 2 AM.

It is believed that the error was caused due to the incorrect manual entry of event start times into the BetMGM sportsbook. This allowed for the betting software to continue accepting wagers long after the games had begun. In total, roughly 50 individual bets were made.

Despite the cause of the problem likely being human related, BetMGM’s operator ROAR Digital has acknowledged that it is aware of the issue and is attempting to resolve it.

“A trading error was identified this weekend and addressed. We’re working with Nevada Gaming authorities on this matter.”ROAR Digital, Operator, BetMGM in a statement to ESPN

A Common Sportsbook Problem

While a number of high-profile Las Vegas bookmakers believe that the latest Bellagio sportsbook loss is the largest in Las Vegas history, they were quick to point out that these errors occur frequently. Surprisingly, it’s not unusual for sportsbook employees to accidentally enter the wrong event time or enter incorrect details.

According to Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at USBookmaking, it’s also quite common for past-post betting errors to occur if operators don’t manually close out the halftime line. In one unlucky experience, he’d witnessed this error result in thousands of dollars lost over one game that was bet on during the fourth quarter.

Another frequent issue is time changes with certain sports. Walker was quick to point out that this is common in college basketball games, which at times can start hours earlier with little notice. It’s for this reason that accepting wagers on lesser-known events such as table tennis can be risky for sportsbooks.

While some regulators may be open to voiding sportsbook errors caused by humans and technology, other regulators may not look at the situation as favorably. Such was the case in 2018, when New Jersey forced FanDuel to pay out more than $164,000 to bettors despite FanDuel’s insistence it had made an error.

FanDuel claimed that a computer glitch placed long odds of 750-1 on the Broncos to beat the Raiders despite Denver about to take a winning 36-yard field goal. The Broncos scored the goal, awarding one lucky bettor $82,000 from a $110 bet.

It is unclear how the Nevada Gaming Control Board will rule, though it may be tempted to rule in favor of the city’s hard-hit sportsbooks. However, one Las Vegas rule is that tickets go as written, meaning once bettors have their wagers confirmed, their bets stand.

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Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas exterior with fountain.

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