Encore Boston Harbor Fined $40K for Accepting Illegal Bets At WynnBET Sportsbook

Written By Mike Breen on February 27, 2024
Encore Boston Harbor Sportsbook Illegal Bet

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MA has been fined $40,000 for accepting bets on a pair of Boston College women’s basketball games last year. The fines were related to seven wagers, amounting to a total of $213, placed in Feb. 2023 at Encore’s WynnBET Sportsbook.

According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, these bets violated MA sports betting law, which prohibits wagering on any in-state college sports team outside of collegiate tournament games. 

Encore infractions occurred last February at WynnBET Sportsbook

The first non-compliance issue cited in the commission’s ruling occurred at Encore last year on Feb. 12. Three bets were placed at sports betting kiosks on that day’s Boston College vs. University of North Carolina women’s basketball game. The bets amounted to $163. There was one winning wager, for which Encore paid out $53. 

The second incident occurred one week later on Feb. 19, when four bets worth a total of $50 were placed at kiosks at Encore on a Boston College vs. University of Louisville women’s basketball game. Encore paid out $9.09 for one winning wager later that day.

Encore then self-reported the violations on Feb. 21 last year. According to the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau report, the WynnBET overnight team discovered the Feb. 19 incident later that night and further review revealed the Feb. 12 non-compliance issues. 

Encore previously fined $10K for same sports betting violation

Encore was previously fined $10,000 for essentially the same infraction. On Feb. 2, just three days after the launch of in-person retail sports betting last year in Massachusetts, Encore accepted a wager on Boston College’s women’s college basketball game against Notre Dame. All three of the state’s casinos were fined for allowing bets on in-state college teams in the first few days after sports betting’s launch. 

The Feb. 2 non-compliance issue at Encore was found to be the result of the Boston College women’s basketball team being listed under two names in the casino’s system, one of which wasn’t included on the system’s “blacklist” of prohibited teams. Encore instituted twice-daily audits after the Feb. 2 incident but still initially missed the Feb. 12 and Feb. 19 violations, which the MGC cited as a reason for the larger fine in its recent ruling.

The MGC ruling stated:

“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 expects more of its operators and licensees.”

MA Commission chastised Encore for initial response

Additionally, the MGC criticized Encore for initially disallowing all women’s college basketball betting upon discovering the violations.

The ruling said:

“Such a fix, by sledgehammer rather than scalpel, is not an ideal solution. Operators should work to identify issues and fix them in a nuanced manner that reflects a full understanding of the issue in question.”

The commission’s report stated that Encore has continued its twice-daily audits and has since instituted a process for reviewing new team/event identification numbers “to prevent similar noncompliance events from happening in the future.”

WynnBET Sportsbook no longer available online in Massachusetts

This isn’t the first predicament WynnBET and its associates have found themselves facing.

As of early February of this year, WynnBET has ceased operations online in Massachusetts. Users were notified via email, letting them know that their accounts would be accessible for the subsequent 30 days to allow outstanding bets to settle and for bettors to withdraw their funds. This marks the latest announcement in WynnBET’s continued market exit, having withdrawn from eight states since last August.

The WynnBET Sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor, however, wasn’t affected. Instead, business will continue as usual at the retail sportsbook — although betting on Boston College still won’t be an available option.

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen is an Ohio-based professional writer who has more than two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture. He has covered online sports betting, responsible gambling, and other gambling initiatives for a variety of markets over the last couple of years. That now includes PlayMA.

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