As Encore Boston Harbor nears official grand opening, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has completed the installation and inspection of the resort-casino’s 3,158 Electronic Gaming Devices (EGDs or slot machines), 143 table games and 88 poker tables.
MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) and the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) work together to supervise the installation and ongoing inspection of all gaming equipment and software, electronic slot monitoring systems and licensee records to ensure the integrity of the games, compliance with regulations and overall adherence to Massachusetts strict gaming standards.
“As Encore Boston Harbor gets ready to open to the public, the MGC is focused on ensuring that our policies and procedures protect the integrity of the gaming industry and safeguards fair play for patrons,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. “I commend the ongoing dedication of MGC’s IEB and ITSD staff for their commitment to the highest standards of regulatory compliance.”
Slot machine payouts are determined by software (random number generators) and each machine is mandated by Commission regulation to have a minimum theoretical payout of 80 percent over the cycle of the game.
Table games, including all corresponding equipment, must also be thoroughly inspected to insure the integrity and fairness of each and every game. Every game is inspected by the IEB prior to the casino opening and then routinely inspected moving forward.
MGC staff, including its gaming agents, focus on the following areas to verify game integrity and compliance:
SHIPPING: MGC must be provided prior notice of every slot machine that is shipped or transported to Massachusetts, including information about each slot machine and its software.
TESTING: In addition to testing by independent test labs, MGC staff verifies and validates that the slots machines on the gaming floor, and its respective software, are operating properly and in compliance with Massachusetts regulations.
MONITORING: MGC utilizes a central control computer system to monitor all EGD’s. MGC requires every slot machine to be connected to MGC’s Central Monitoring System. This 24/7 state-of-the-art monitoring system provides MGC with immediate access to each slot machine to ensure the integrity of the machine, help detect potential instances of money laundering, and to ensure proper collection of state taxes.
REVENUE: Before the gaming revenue is counted at the gaming establishment, MGC, through its Central Monitoring System, is able to quickly assess anticipated dollars which it then verifies with the casino’s slot monitoring system (SMS) computation. A hand count is then performed by casino staff resulting in essentially a triple audit on every slot machine. The triple count will ensure the integrity of the EGD and the amount of revenue generated. Table game revenue is also closely monitored to ensure compliance with internal controls.
AUDITS: MGC staff will routinely review and audit payouts from slot machines to confirm that the amount of money returned to players are consistent with approved programs.
SURVEILLANCE: Each gaming establishment is required to install state-of-the-art surveillance and security systems. Surveillance will be performed 24/7/365 by the casino and the MGC staff. This sophisticated surveillance system is a critical tool for ensuring compliance and also assists greatly with overall public safety and security considerations.