Encore Boston Harbor Nightclub Fined for Improper Alcohol Service
Encore Boston Harbor’s nightclub has been slapped with a $25,000 fine by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) for overserving guests and failing to adhere to liquor dispensing regulations.
Memoire at Encore Boston Harbor is managed by Boston-based Big Night Venues. The casino’s nightclub has been the subject of multiple reported instances of noncompliance, with alcohol service requirements dating back to October 2021.
The commission heard about a handful of incidents involving nightclub patrons being overserved alcohol. There were also reports of partygoers drinking alcohol straight from the bottle at their reserved tables, and consuming several shots of hard liquor in a short time frame — both of which violate MGC rules.
Since the nightclub is located on the same premises as a licensed casino, the MGC has the authority to discipline the establishment through regulatory fines. And the MGC, a state-run gaming commission that’s become known for levying considerable financial penalties on licensees deemed uncompliant, didn’t hold back on Memoire.
The MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, in accordance with Massachusetts’ gaming law passed in 2011, recommended to the commission that it fine Memoire for its repeated shortcomings. During its meeting this week, the five-member commission voted in favor of penalizing the Encore Boston Harbor nightclub to the tune of $25,000.
The commission has also instructed Memoire to complete a corrective action plan that includes better staff training, new bottle and alcohol service policies, and more comprehensive pre-shift staff briefings.
Gaming Commission Not Playing Around
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is a newer state gaming regulator in the US, as it was formed only in 2011. But it’s emerged as an agency that’s become notorious in the gaming industry as one of the harsher regulators.
Steve Wynn resigned in early 2018 from his namesake casino company amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. That’s just as Wynn Resorts was readying to open its $2.6 billion casino outside of Boston. Gaming regulators in Nevada imposed a record $20 million fine on the company. But the MGC took things even further with a $35 million sentence.
Wynn Resorts agreed to pay the hefty fines in order to retain its coveted gaming licenses in each state. But the Massachusetts gaming regulators weren’t done. The MGC tacked on an additional $500,000 penalty levied against Wynn’s successor — CEO Matt Maddox — “for his clear failure” to properly report earlier accusations against his boss to the Wynn board.
Though Memoire has little to do with Encore Boston Harbor casino, the MGC fine highlights the commission’s mission of keeping all aspects of the state’s three commercial casinos squeaky clean.
“We have learned that as the casino business and industry has evolved in Massachusetts, which is still relatively young, complying with our standards and our regulatory oversight can be difficult. It can be a challenge even for the most experienced of operators,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein conceded last week.
Encore Leads State Industry
Encore Boston Harbor has been the leader in Massachusetts’ three-casino gaming industry since it opened in June of 2019. The Wynn Resorts casino won $634.4 million off gamblers in 2021, which accounted for 62% of the $1.02 billion statewide gross gaming revenue total.
Encore led the way again last month with $64.7 million in GGR. MGM Springfield was a distant second at $21.5 million, and Plainridge Park third at $12.5 million.
The casinos are anxiously waiting to add sports betting to their repertoire. State lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) recently legalized gambling on sports. However, the MGC says it will likely be early 2023 until the first legal sports bet is wagered in the commonwealth.
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