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Thomas Castellanos of the Boston College Eagles rushes against the Southern Methodist Mustangs as we look at Fanatics Sportsbooks fine for violating college football betting laws in Massachusetts.
Thomas Castellanos of the Boston College Eagles rushes against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the second half of the 2023 Wasabi Fenway Bowl on December 28, 2023. Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images via AFP.

Fanatics Sportsbook, one of our best sports betting sites, caught the ire of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Thursday and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for allowing a December wager on an in-state college team.

Regulators and overseers of the nearly 40 legal sports betting jurisdictions across the country are tasked with rooting out any nefarious wagering activity, and Thursday’s announcement in the Massachusetts sports betting space is yet another example of the system working as designed.

Fanatics Sportsbook, one of the newest Massachusetts sports betting apps, identified its mistake and canceled the in-state college wager but could not escape the financial penalty that came with the illegally accepted wager. 

Betting on college sports has been notoriously tricky for sports betting operators in Massachusetts. Fanatics is just the latest Massachusetts sports betting site to be found violating the college sports wagering rules.

The violation in question

The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission flagged a $50 futures wager on the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 28. The game featured in-state team Boston College against Southern Methodist University.

The bet is a violation of the Massachusetts rule that prohibits wagers on in-state college teams. The safeguards prevailed, and Fanatics Sportsbook was ordered to pay $10K for its indiscretion. According to Fanatics, a new employee accidentally turned on the illegal betting market. You can check out Fanatics using our Fanatics Sportsbook promo code.

“The goal of the commission…was to make sure that we set the goalposts, and once the goalposts were set, that it was followed,” said Jordan Maynard, the MGC’s interim chair, “I see that here…I think it was great work.”

Doing the right thing?

The prohibited wager occurred on Dec. 5 and was caught before kickoff of the actual game.

According to Fanatics, the error in accepting the wager was discovered on December 6. The bet was canceled, and the customer was refunded the full amount of their future bet. Fanatics self-reported the error.

All took place well before the actual game took place.


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission had little sympathy for the sports betting provider despite the company self-reporting its mistake.

By a unanimous 4-0 vote, the Commission agreed that a $10,000 fine was appropriate.

Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts was fined $40,000 earlier this year for a similar in-state college wager, and all three of the state’s retail casinos have been sanctioned for similar illegal sports betting activity. 

Timing couldn’t be worse

College athletics betting has been a hot-button issue lately, with states and even NCAA President Charlie Baker signaling a desire to eliminate prop betting on college sports altogether.

The Ohio sports bettingMaryland sports betting, and Louisiana sports betting scenes have already banned college prop betting markets this year, while lawmakers in the New Jersey sports betting and North Carolina sports betting scenes have introduced legislation to eliminate them.

Only Montana has chosen not to ban wagers on college athletics.