The Massachusetts Gaming Commission revealed it may issue amicus briefs in a legal case faced by Encore Boston Harbor focussing on the payouts of the blackjack 6-to-5 odds. Back in 2019, the casino property was cleared of any charges of wrongdoing but the plaintiffs have asked the Supreme Judicial Court to once again take the matter into consideration.
The Massachusetts gambling regulatory body claims that Encore Boston was in line with the state’s gambling laws at the time but will comply with the request. The Gaming Commission has revealed that it would follow up with a request from the Court and file an amicus brief in the case that made Encore Boston Harbor subject to a class-action lawsuit.
The plaintiffs claim that the casino, which is currently owned and operated by Wynn Resorts, had been “duping customers” by making adjustments to the blackjack odds offered by the casino to payouts that were less favorable to players.
At first, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission seemed hesitant to intervene but, eventually, has made a decision to act on the request for an amicus brief. The latter asks the state’s gambling watchdog to provide the Supreme Judicial Court with additional information that may be necessary for the court to establish whether the claim is truthful or not. So, on February 17th, following a unanimous 4-0 vote, the regulator decided to act on the request fearing that it may be considered playing favors with casino operators if it refused to file an amicus brief.
No Wrongdoings Found during Previous MGC’s Investigation into Encore Boston Harbor’s Operations
As mentioned above, the court action against the casino dates back to 2019. The lawsuit, then filed with a US District Course, explains that players are offered 6-to-5 odds instead of the normal 3-to-2 odds when dealt a ten-valued card and an ace. According to an analysis included in the lawsuit at the time, customers of Encore Boston Harbor who played blackjack there may expect to lose a total of $35.60 more per hour than the amount they are expected to lose if offered the standard odds of the game.
Furthermore, plaintiffs have alleged that the Encore Boston Harbor casino was “stealing” $85,440 from its customers on a daily basis, or more than $30 million a year. These claims have been denied by Wynn Resorts and the casino.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has previously held an investigation into the casino’s operations and did not find any wrongdoings on the part of the management or the property. A similar case has been faced by MGM Springfield, so the plaintiffs are now asking justices from the Supreme Judicial Court to once again consider the issue.
As mentioned above, the Massachusetts gambling regulatory body has been trying to avoid the amicus brief’s filing for quite a while. Eventually, it had a change of heart during the executive hearings held in January and decided to proceed as requested and file one as it does not want to be considered favorable to casinos. The procedure of filing an amicus brief must first be approved by the attorney general’s office. After the approval, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be expected to present the documents by March 17th.
The Court is set to hear arguments in favor and against Encore Boston Harbor on April 7th.