BetMGM Fined in Pennsylvania for Accepting Bets on Evander Holyfield Boxing Match

  • BetMGM  accepted bets on the unapproved bout with Holyfield and Belfort
  • The operator accepted 76 bets on the fight despite being told not to by the PGCB
  • The California State Athletic Association refused to sanction the fight
  • PGCB is responsible for overseeing the legal gambling sector in Pennsylvania
Evander Holyfield
BetMGM has been fined $7,500 by the PGCB for accepting bets on an unapproved boxing match involving veteran fighter Evander Holyfield (pictured). [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Taking action

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has issued a $7,500 fine to BetMGM for accepting bets on a 2021 boxing match involving Evander Holyfield.

In a Wednesday public meeting, the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel presented a consent agreement regarding the acceptance of bets on an unapproved sporting event. BetMGM and the Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association (MTRA) were jointly fined after the PGCB approved the agreement.

took 76 bets on the bout

The MTRA operates the Hollywood Casino Morgantown and partners with BetMGM for its sports betting offering. BetMGM accepted wagers on the September 2021 fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort. The operator took 76 bets on the bout despite the PGCB banning sportsbooks from doing so.

A concerning fight

Initially, Belfort was supposed to fight Oscar De La Hoya in the bout. The latter ended up contracting COVID-19 shortly before the fight, prompting Evander Holyfield to step up with eight days’ notice. Prior to the matchup, Holyfield had not fought in almost a decade.

he was almost 59 years old at the time,

Given that he was almost 59 years old at the time, the former heavyweight champion of the world could not get the backing of the California State Athletic Association to participate. As a result, the organizers moved the bout from the Los Angeles Staples Center to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida.

The fight came to an end just 108 seconds into the first round, with Belfort well on top of Holyfield. Despite Belfort dominating his opponent, Holyfield was angry at the fight stoppage and wanted to keep fighting.

Overseeing the sector

The PGCB is responsible for overseeing the legal gambling sector in Pennsylvania. It keeps a watchful eye over both sports betting and casino operations, stepping in to take enforcement action if any licensees fall out of line.

As well as the $7,500 fine for BetMGM, on Wednesday it also took action to ban five adults from entering casinos after they were found to have left children unattended while gambling. State laws state that adults cannot leave minors unattended in hotels, parking lots, or garages when they play in casinos.

BetMGM has offered online sports betting in Pennsylvania since December 2020. It also launched an online casino in the state during the same month.