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Bellagio past-posted bets to be voided, report says

Updated July 21, 2020 - 7:59 pm

The state Gaming Control Board has decided to void more than $200,000 in outstanding parlays that were placed at the Bellagio last month after the games had started, according to an ESPN report.

Nearly a quarter-million in winning wagers were reportedly placed early June 28 in what is believed to be the largest past-posting loss for a sportsbook in Las Vegas history.

The bets were allowed to be placed because incorrect start times were posted on some Korean and Chinese baseball games because of a manual entry error, according to an ESPN report at the time. Nearly all of the about 50 wagers were placed on self-serve kiosks at the Bellagio between 1:30 and 3 a.m. when the games in question started at 1 and 2 a.m.

Among the bets was a $250 10-leg parlay that paid $137,107.38.

An investigation was opened at the Control Board, and it came down in favor of the BetMGM sportsbook, ESPN reported Tuesday, citing multiple sources.

Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan and senior research analyst Mike Lawton each told the Review-Journal that the board has no comment.

A spokesman for MGM Resorts International, which owns the Bellagio, referred comment to Roar Digital, the joint venture between MGM and GVC Holdings that operates the BetMGM sportsbooks. A Roar Digital spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

One of the involved bettors, who has been in contact with the Review-Journal, confirmed that his bets would be voided.

It was unclear if any straight bets were voided along with the parlays. Some bettors were able to cash their tickets before the sportsbook realized the error, the report said.

MGM relaunched its sports betting offerings March 6 under the name Roar Digital. The relaunch included a new mobile betting app and more than 100 kiosks at MGM’s Las Vegas properties.

After the initial report in June, MGM provided a statement from Roar Digital to the Review-Journal: “A trading error was identified this weekend and addressed. We’re working with Nevada Gaming authorities on this matter.”

Betting on Asian baseball intensified when ESPN began broadcasting the games with major American sports shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

One parlay ticket that was posted on Twitter after the dispute had a time stamp of 2:53 a.m., but the games started at 1 a.m. Pacific time. The parlay included the NC Dinos, who led 3-0 after five innings, and under 8½ in a Kia-Kiwoom game that was 1-0 after five innings.

The dispute provoked strong opinions across the sports betting landscape. Some bookmakers said past-posting bordered on theft, while some bettors pointed out that the wagers still could have lost, even with the extra information, and that the mistake was the book’s fault regardless.

Bookmakers said they could recall several past-posting incidents over the years, though none for as much money as the Bellagio dispute.

“It’s happened to all of us,” Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said at the time. “I think every sportsbook probably since the beginning of time has dealt with this at some point.”

Reporters Todd Dewey and Richard N. Velotta contributed to this story. Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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