Published: March 3, 2024

Massachusetts Gaming Commission fines Encore Boston Harbor $40,000 for allowing illegal sports bets

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has fined the Encore Boston Harbor casino $40,000 for taking illegal bets on Boston College women's basketball last year. Most bets on games featuring state schools are against the law, unless the teams are taking part in a tournament. 

This is not the casino's first breach of local regulations. Encore was first fined $10,000 for accepting wagers on a Boston College vs. Notre Dame women's basketball game on February 2nd, 2023. At the time, the state's other two sportsbooks, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, were also found to have allowed illegal wagers on college sports teams. 

According to the commission, Encore again allowed illegal bets on February 12th, 2023 in a B.C. vs. University of North Carolina women's basketball game, and on February 19th, 2023 for the B.C. women vs. University of Louisville. A total of seven wagers worth $213 were placed on the two games at casino kiosks. 

The Gaming Commission stated that certain identification numbers for B.C. women's basketball were not placed on a 'blacklist' to prevent betting.  "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 commission said.

Commissioners also criticized Encore for initially suspending women's college basketball betting as a solution. "Such a fix, by sledgehammer rather than a scalpel, is not an ideal solution," the commission said.

The incident comes as the state's gambling industry keeps delivering solid results. Last month, the commission released its casino gambling and sports betting revenue report for January. The total taxable revenue for the month from both activities was $164.67 million, indicating a slight increase from December's $163.6 million.

The combined gross gaming revenue (GGR) from the state's three casinos – Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor – for the month was approximately $93.54 million. The figure represented a slight decrease from December when the casinos generated $103.03 million. Casino business tends to be seasonal with January typically a slow month.

Encore Boston led the way with $60.9 million in revenue from slots and table games, followed by MGM Springfield, which generated $20.7 million; and slots-only Plainridge Park, which made a total of $11.8 million.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.