Bellagio Freezes Over $200,000 in Payouts Linked to Disastrous Sportsbook Error

A misprint caused what might be the largest sports betting loss in Las Vegas history. The Bellagio is refusing to pay most of the tickets, however, as MGM waits for the results of a Nevada Gaming Control Board investigation. 

The situation happened early morning on June 28, involving nearly $250,000 in bets for Korean Baseball Organization and Chinese Professional Baseball League games. With Major League Baseball’s season delayed, gamblers turned to both leagues to place bets, putting wagers on everything from the number of home runs to the final score. There’s just one issue: due to the time difference, the games often start between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Pacific time. In this case, all of the games involved took place at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. respectively, according to KBO and CPBL schedules we looked at. That’s where the misprint comes in. It looks like someone forgot to change the schedule on BetMGM’s app or the physical sportsbook at the Bellagio resort. As a result, the company took action until 3 a.m., long after some of the games had finished. 

A Look at The Bets

We found multiple claims on social media of gamers betting through a parlay. A parlay is a single bet that links multiple wagers together. The only way to win is if every single bet pays off. One ticket we saw was for $100, but through the parlay, it would pay out $11,156.60. The bet was made, according to the ticket, at 2:53 a.m. Pacific time, with wagers for the Kiwoom Heroes, NC Dinos, Lotte Giants and LG Twins of the KBO to all win. Looking at ESPN’s schedule, all of those games started at 1 a.m. Pacific, meaning they were either over or almost over by the time that bet was placed. In the Dinos game against the Doosan Bears, NC led 5-0 by 2:53 a.m., heading into the final inning. That gave bettors significant advantages against the house when putting money down. 

While bets like that send up flags, the biggest that drew attention was a $250 parlay involving both the KBO and CPBL games. The gamer in question, whose name has not been released, won $137,107 on a practically unheard of 10-team parlay. Even though the bet was made before the Chinese League game finished, a look at ESPN’s scoreboard shows enough to tell the story. By the end of the sixth inning, before bets shut down at 3 a.m. Pacific time, the Uni Lions led 10-2. To further put that in perspective, they had scored in five of the six innings. Barring a miracle comeback, that seemed a very safe bet. 

What Happens For Bellagio and Gamblers?

After paying out a couple of the smaller early bets, the Bellagio put a freeze on all tickets. On Twitter, the hashtag #payonepayall is trending, as alleged bettors share their stories. Some argue that it should be up to the casino to shut down bets before the game starts. If betting is open, they argue, then how did anyone violate the rules? 

We looked at Nevada law and got directed to Chapter 463 of the Nevada Code. In that section, there’s an area dealing with Licensing and Control of Gaming in the state. Nevada Code 463.362 says the Nevada Gaming Control Board has to get involved if there’s a dispute involving “alleged winnings, alleged losses or the award or distribution of cash..” greater than $500. That’s where the board comes in. If a casino or player calls in the board, the group has to do an investigation and “shall determine whether payment should be made,” the document says. Basically they play the role of arbiter. What gets frustrating for bettors and the casino is the timetable. The board has up to 45 days after being notified to issue a ruling. Until then, the money stays frozen. 

We reached out to both the board and MGM for comment. Board officials said they had no comment for the story and we never heard back from MGM.

About the Author

Brian Carlton

Brian Carlton is an award-winning journalist who has covered casinos, the gaming and finance industries for more than a decade. His work has been published by the BBC and a variety of newspapers across the U.S.