Encore Boston Harbor Casino Fined $40K for Improper Sports Betting

Posted on: February 27, 2024, 04:11h. 

Last updated on: February 28, 2024, 11:54h.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) this week penalized Encore Boston Harbor $40K after patrons wagered improperly on ACC college games.

Encore Boston Harbor
Encore Boston Harbor, pictured above. The casino was fined for improper wagering. (Image: Encore Boston Harbor)

The record-setting fines announced on Monday were the result of illicit wagers made on regular-season women’s basketball games involving Boston College in 2023.

One was the February 12 BC vs University of North Carolina game, where wagering was open for about four hours. During that time, three bets were made for a total of $163.

The other was the February 19 BC vs. University of Louisville matchup. Betting was provided for two hours and 13 minutes. Four wagers were placed, with the total wagered being $50.

In both cases, the commission said, the illegal bets were processed because an Encore vendor did not properly blacklist all BC women’s basketball team events,” the MGC said in the ruling.

When explaining the situation, the MGC said that casinos in Massachusetts can’t provide wagering on any collegiate athletic event involving an in-state team. That’s unless the team is taking part in a collegiate tournament, such as the one run by the NCAA.

When sports betting was legalized in Massachusetts in 2022, state officials excluded wagers on most games involving Massachusetts colleges and universities, as is the case with many other states.

Boston College’s campus is located in Newton, Mass., outside of Boston.

Safeguards Not in Place

The violations were a second offense for Encore Boston Harbor.

Despite identifying the first noncompliance incident, Encore failed to resolve the underlying issue or put adequate guardrails in place, resulting in its immediate repetition,” the MGC said in the statement.

In addition, neither Encore nor its vendors “were prepared for the adjudicatory hearing, which featured confusion and miscommunication from Encore, WynnBET, and [vendor] GAN,” the MGC said.

The Everett, Mass. casino has yet to show it has “its vendors under control,” the MGC added.

Removal by Sledgehammer

The MGC also pointed out that Encore’s “solution to the noncompliance incident was to remove women’s collegiate basketball entirely from its offerings. Such a fix, by sledgehammer rather than scalpel, is not an ideal solution,” the MGC continued in the ruling.

Operators should work to identify issues and fix them in a nuanced manner, that reflects a full understanding of the issue in question,” according to the MGC.

The MGC held a hearing last April 14 about the incidents.