Nightclub at Encore hit with $25,000 fine

Assessment follows five instances of over-serving alcohol

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

AFTER FIVE separate incidents in which patrons at Encore Boston Harbor’s Memoire nightclub, some of them underage, were served more alcohol than they should have been, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has fined the nightclub operator $25,000 and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission is upping its presence there.

The fine and required corrective actions, which Big Night Entertainment Group agreed to and worked with the commission to develop, are meant to clamp down on things like excessive service of shots in a short period of time and bottle service no-nos like patrons drinking straight from a bottle or having alcohol poured directly into their mouths, regulators said.

“The fine was assessed following alcohol over-service incidents on five separate occasions between October of 2021 and this past June of 2022. One of the incidents involved over-service at the bar in Memoire, and four of the five incidents involved over-service during bottle service and the over-service was as a result of improper administration of bottle service during those times,” Heather Hall, the Gaming Commission’s chief enforcement counsel, said during a meeting last week.

In addition to the $25,000 fine, the Gaming Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau is requiring that Memoire conduct more staff training and change its policies around both bottle service (when patrons reserve a table at the nightclub with a server dedicated to pouring them drinks) and also alcohol service generally. The changes specify that a server must take all bottles of alcohol with them whenever they leave a bottle service area, that patrons are prohibited from pouring their own drinks, and that no patron is ever allowed to drink directly from a bottle, Hall said.

“The conditions also include a provision that free-pouring alcohol into a patron’s mouth is strictly prohibited — and that this is considered egregious conduct — and that Memoire has agreed to discipline its employees accordingly,” Hall said.

Managers at the nightclub are now required to remind staff of these new requirements during the pre-shift briefing that happens each night before the nightclub opens for business.

“We have learned over at least the time that I’ve been here, that as the casino business and industry has evolved in Massachusetts — 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 Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said last week.

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Judd-Stein said she is “very pleased” by Big Night’s cooperation with the Memoire corrective action plan.

“Doing business in a gaming establishment is highly regulated and a good challenge. So we appreciate this,” she said. “And the challenge of the bottle service, the fact that there’s going to be so many additional resources now, I suspect that we will see very few reports going forward on any continued non-compliance.”