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Encore Boston Harbor Fined for Taking College Bets…Again

Encore Boston Harbor is learning the hard way that Massachusetts-facing sports betting operators are not allowed to take action on local college games. This week, the locally named sportsbook was hit with a $40,000 fine from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for accepting wagers on a women’s basketball game played at nearby Boston College. It’s the second, and hopefully last, time the operator has made that same mistake.

Massachusetts, like New Jersey, prohibits sports betting operators from taking action on any local college game unless it’s part of a national tournament. The idea behind the rule is pretty solid and is meant to protect student athletes from harassment by aggrieved gamblers along with the pitfalls of match fixing.

Last February 12, for reasons that still aren’t clear, Encore Boston Harbor accepted wagers $163 in wagers on a Massachusetts women’s basketball game. The operator made the same error a week later when it accepted $50 in wagers on a Boston College women’s basketball game. Encore Boston Harbor officials told regulators that they conduct twice-daily reviews of their betting portfolio to prevent this kind of error, but that these two games had slipped by their system.

Encore Boston Harbor’s fine was relatively small due in part to the small amounts wagered, but also due to the fact that the operator self-reported the error. That said, it was the fact that this was a second offense in a very short period of time that really bothered the regulators. “Despite this being the second adjudicatory hearing on the same type of noncompliance event, Encore did not demonstrate that it had its vendors under control, or that it had even coordinated with them in preparation for the hearing. The Commission expects more of its operators and licensees,” they said in their report on the matter.

A spokesperson for Encore Boston Harbor expressed remorse for the illicit bets and said the company will comply with the Commission’s ruling.