- A past posting situation on Korean and Chinese baseball cost the Bellagio sportsbook in Las Vegas almost $250,000.
- Due to incorrect start times posted on games bets were accepted up to two hours after they began.
- The Bellagio miscue could be the largest past posting loss in Las Vegas sports betting history.
There’s a reason that live odds feeds are so fastidious about updating and reporting time changes. Last weekend, incorrect start times posted on Chinese and KBO league Korean baseball games resulted in nearly a quarter million dollars worth of winning wagers to be placed at MGM Resorts sportsbooks in Las Vegas well after the games had started. Long time bookmakers and sports betting experts suggest that it might be the biggest past posting loss in Las Vegas history. Most of the 50 or so bets were placed on self service kiosks at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino between 1:30 AM and 3 AM Pacific Time. The games in question started at 1 AM and 2 AM Pacific.
The biggest hit was a successful $250 10 team parlay that paid $137,107.38. BetMGM’s PR originally tweeted out an image of the winning parlay but deleted it a few hours later. ROAR Digital–manager of BetMGM–provided a statement to the media:
“A trading error was identified this weekend and addressed. We’re working with Nevada Gaming authorities on this matter.”
The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s official statement is ‘no comment’ but they would definitely be involved in this type of situation. Obviously, the Bellagio would like to cancel these bets but cannot do so without the NGC’s approval:
There is a time honored protocol in this matter: the bettor is offered the choice of a) having his bets canceled, his stake refunded and life goes on for both parties or b) getting his winning but permanently getting the boot as a customer.
Since the NGC is already involved–as they’re required to do for any dispute in excess of $500–these options are likely no longer at play. What will happen now is that the NGC will conduct an investigation and render a judgement that both parties must abide by. If you’re interested in the particulars of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s dispute resolution process you can read about it here:
The Las Vegas Review Journal asked for input from sportsbook executives and there was a strong difference of opinion to how the NGC will rule. At one extreme, there was the opinion that these wagers represent “pure theft” and that the bettors should be prosecuted. At the other extreme, there have been incidents where the NGC ruled in favor of the bettor after a sportsbook attempted to void winning–though past posted-bets.
Another element of the dispute would depend on the specifics of the house rules at MGM sportsbooks. Here’s some relevant passages:
Complicating the simple axiom that all bets are action once the bettor leaves the window (‘check your tickets’) or confirmed on a mobile app is this part of the MGM house rules:
Interestingly, the Race Book rules clearly specify that past posted bets will be voided. The Sportsbook house rules do not:
In a subsequent article the Las Vegas Review Journal spoke to Robert Walker who served as MGM Resorts sportsbook director from 1996 to 2008 and is now the director of sportsbook operations at USBookmaking. Walker indicated that while he was with MGM there were several disputes concerning incorrect time postings on games and that gaming regulators ruled against the book and in favor of the bettor most of the time. Ultimately, he thinks this case could come down to a matter of semantics:
“To me, this would qualify as an obvious mistake. The problem is, ‘What is the definition of obvious?’”
Nevada’s gaming regulations define any number of relevant terms in some cases to the point of near absurdity. For example, there’s an official definition of ‘credit card’, ‘wager’ and ‘cash’. As Walker intimates, there is no official definition of ‘obvious’