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Mass. Gaming Commission not alarmed by Encore seating complaints

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  Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) did not seem overly concerned about recent grievances suggesting that Encore Boston Harbor had breached its indoor seating capacity.

  The matter first arose during the MGC’s public hearing on February 28 regarding the proposed East of Broadway project. At that time, Attorney Daniel Rabinovitz, counsel for the City of Medford, said Encore had repeatedly broken the law as it pertains to indoor seating capacity. “Encore has continually had concerts where seats have been sold and seats have been put in their ballroom that are between 1,000 and 3,500 seats,” he said. “That’s a straight violation of the law.”

  Therefore, Rabinovitz said, Encore should be fined or, at the very least, the MGC should send the casino a “very stern written warning.” “Encore is not interested at all in complying with this restriction about the number of seats that they can have,” he said. “If we find out that they’re going to have those kinds of events again, one of the things that my clients are going to consider is to file something in Superior Court for Injunctive Relief.”

  During the Commission’s March 3 meeting, MGC Executive Director Karen Wells spoke about an upcoming mixed martial arts event, Combat Zone 75. The event is scheduled to take place on March 17 in Encore’s Picasso Ballroom. “Certainly, the MGC has been monitoring that issue,” said Wells. “I don’t want the public to think that we’ve disregarded it.”

  However, February 28 was the first time the MGC heard complaints about Encore’s seating capacity. “Nothing’s ever been presented before the Commission,” said Wells.

  She also disagreed with Rabinovitz that Encore had broken the law. “No determination has been made that an event between 1,000 and 1,500 [patrons] is necessarily a violation of the law,” she said. “That needs to be clear.” In addition, Wells said 1,000 seats may not even be available at the March 17 event.

  MGC Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein agreed that the Commission is not in a position to make a proper decision. “We’re not prepared to act without some additional information,” she said.

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