Commission: Encore Boston Harbor Accepted More Illegal Bets On College Ball

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — After owning up to taking illegal bets on a Boston College women's basketball game and assuring regulators that it had addressed the problem, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett is again under Gaming Commission scrutiny for taking forbidden bets on BC women's hoops.

Sports Wagering Director Bruce Band told commissioners at the start of Thursday's meeting that the matter is being vetted by the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and will be before the commission in greater detail "in the coming week or so." The commission's agenda for Thursday also includes a more in-depth review of similar violations of the state's new betting law at MGM Springfield.

Massachusetts law allows bets to be placed on Massachusetts colleges and universities only when the team is playing in a tournament with at least three other participants.

Band said that a glitch in the system of Encore's technology partner GAN Sports allowed the latest BC women's basketball bets to be placed in the last few days. When he detailed the Everett casino's first violation for regulators earlier this month, he said that Encore planned to take over the process of assembling the list of events it accepts wagers on from GAN Sports by Feb. 10, and the casino said it "instituted additional measures to ensure compliance moving forward."

On Thursday, Band said that when "they reviewed the betting catalog and made sure it was turned off, the system automatically turned it back on." For the time being, he said, Encore has stopped taking any action on NCAA women's basketball because that's the "only way they can stop that from being offered."

An Encore spokesperson said, "Through our audits we identified a programming error in the system as it relates to NCAA women's college basketball markets and are currently working with our provider on a permanent solution. In the interim, we have locked all NCAA women's college basketball betting."

All three sportsbooks open in Massachusetts -- Encore, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino -- are already under Gaming Commission scrutiny for having illegally accepted wagers on regular-season college basketball games that involved Massachusetts schools within the first few days of legal in-person betting. The Gaming Commission is wrestling with how it should handle such violations as it continues to expand betting options, including with online betting set to launch March 10.

Written by Colin A. Young/SHNS

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