On Sunday, a bettor at the Bellagio in Las Vegas cashed a 10-leg parlay on Korean and Chinese baseball games, winning $137.107.38 off a $250 bet. By Tuesday, it was apparent that the big winner was just the biggest beneficiary of a flaw in how BetMGM had listed Asian baseball games that night.
According to an ESPN report, several bettors won big on Asian baseball wagers on Sunday after MGM posted incorrect start times for games in the KBO League and the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Bettors Place Late Bets Thanks to Manual Error
The games in question all began at either 1 am or 2 am Pacific Standard Time. However, bettors were placing suspicious bets on those games as late as 3 am PST, according to a source cited by ESPN.
That gave bettors an enormous advantage. For instance, the NC Dinos broke a scoreless tie with the Doosan Bears in the fifth inning thanks to a three-run home run. At that point – around 2:30 am PST – bettors could still bet the Dinos as a -110 pick and take the under on the total of nine runs, holding an enormous edge on both bets.
In total, the source told ESPN that bettors placed about 50 questionable wagers, including the infamous parlay. In total, the bets – nearly all made at self-bet kiosks at the Bellagio sportsbook – won about a quarter-million dollars.
On Twitter, another bettor shared a $100, 8-team parlay that paid $11,256.60.
— R2D2 Audrey (@AudreyR2d2) June 29, 2020
According to ESPN, Nevada gaming regulators are investigating the matter. Nevada Gaming Control Board senior research analyst Mike Lawton told ESPN that the board “does not have any comment” on the situation at this time.
ROAR Digital, which manages the BetMGM platform, acknowledged the mistake in a statement.
“A trading error was identified this weekend and addressed,” the statement read. “We’re working with Nevada Gaming authorities on this matter.”
Asian Baseball Fills Betting Void, Comes With Risks
Starting time errors are uncommon in sports betting, but certainly not unheard of. Two anonymous Nevada sportsbook executives told ESPN that mistakes like these typically happen with smaller bets and that they will typically give the gambler two options. Either the bookmaker can refund the bet and the customer can keep playing at the sportsbook, or the customer can keep their winnings in exchange for a permanent ban.
Mistakes resulting in such large losses are rare, however, and some sports betting executives think that bettors who took advantage of the situation are in for a legal fight.
“This was like going to the casino cage and sticking a gun in their faces,” one unnamed executive told The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There’s no difference. What these guys did was pure theft.”
Sportsbooks in the United States are offering KBO and CPBL baseball games to bettors during the COVID-19 pandemic as Major League Baseball likely won’t begin play until late July. The unfamiliar leagues and time differences make errors more likely, though that same executive told the Review-Journal that the operator still holds some responsibility for the mistake.
“These guys are looking to take advantage, but you’ve got to protect yourself,” the executive said. “If you choose to keep it open all night, you better be damn sure everything in there is correct.”