As a New England-based writer about casinos, I of course watch closely what’s going on and the launch of Encore Boston Harbor has been big news. However, and somewhat unexpectedly, a new lawsuit seeking class action status is alleging mistakes being made by the casino that violates gaming commission rules, less than a month after Encore Boston Harbor’s opening.
There are two basic complaints being made about the casino in the suit:
- Blackjack payouts: The suit says that Encore Boston Harbor is violating Massachusetts gaming laws by paying 6-5 on Blackjacks in some cases instead of 3-2. The lawsuit states that while Massachusetts gaming rules allows for a 6-5 variation, there are specific rules for this and that Encore was not playing to those rules when offering 6-5 Blackjack. Specifically, the suit alleges that Encore was not following the Massachusetts approved rules for Blackjack in that only games with 1-2 decks are allowed to be played with 6-5 rules.
- Rounding down: Ticket machines are paying out bills, but not the change, which the suit claims is taking money away from patrons without permission.
Regarding the ticket redemption aspect, what is not clear from the lawsuit, for instance, is if the ticket machine did provide a voucher that the plaintiff did not see. Everi machines, which are commonly found in casinos for ticket redemption, have a slot, for instance, to dispense vouchers that are not next to the cash (because that’s where you input the ticket to redeem), but are considerably higher on the machine. They’re lit up, but it can be easy to miss.
I’ve spoken with a couple of friends who played at Encore and confirmed the ticket redemption machines do not provide coins, but instead vouchers, so I suspect there’s confusion there.
I’ve personally played at a couple of casinos where the machines printed a voucher instead of dropping coins (usually to reduce wear and tear on the machine, and efforts in keeping machines full of coins). In every case that I’ve encountered, the cash comes out considerably sooner than the voucher, and customers have multiple times missed that a voucher was dispensed and walked away before taking it.
You can read the full lawsuit here. You can also read the approved rules for Blackjack in Massachusetts here.
It’s a good reminder, based on the many myths and realities that we’ve discussed on the site, that there are a very large number of rules and regulations that casinos must follow to maintain their gaming license and offer games approved by the state(s) they operate.
It’s also a good reminder for players to know what rules are in play in a market you’re in – games you want to play may not even be available, for instance, due to gaming limitations. Or the rules might differ a bit from your home market, even if the game itself looks identical (Blackjack is known for having a variety of different rule adjustments that can increase or decrease the house advantage, and occasionally can impact the right way to play.)
We’ll keep an eye on this, and if any major developments occur we’ll share.