EVERETT (CBS) – Three levels of security professionals are sharing inside information on crime, cheaters, and even winners at the massive 33-acre Encore Boston Casino opening Sunday.
“Thousands of security cameras,” said Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie. “One thing people should know is, if you come in and around that area, be prepared to be on video.”
Experts say you can bet all those cameras become laser focused when gamblers hit the jackpot.
“These games are all mathematically designed for a casino to win,” said industry consultant Sal Piacente, who’s worked with the company that owns and operates Encore. He says when players win big, “surveillance will do a review of that play, and they’ll see if the dealer followed the proper procedures.”
Police say they’ve learned lessons from their work with the state’s first full casino, MGM Springfield, which opened in August.
“You’re going to have some sort of uptick in crime, because you’re going to have the volume of people coming there,” said Det. Lt. Brian Connors, who heads up the Mass. State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit.
Records obtained by WBZ-TV’s I-Team show that from MGM’s opening until mid-May, thousands of 911 calls were made from the property. The I-Team’s analysis of crime reports shows 11 gun incidents, 32 drug cases, 85 assault reports and 70 cases involving stealing.
Some worry these problems could spill into Everett’s neighborhood across from Encore.
“I mean people go in there and lose money. They’re going to come out and they’re going to need more money,” said Richard Minichello, whose home has been passed through his family for generations.
A State Gaming Commission report showed a crime increase in Springfield after MGM opened, but only about two-percent could be linked to the casino. A few weeks after it opened, police arrested Devon Williams, accused of walking in and randomly attacking a visitor who suffered a broken jaw and bleeding head.
Records show police responded to 20 reports of cheating in Springfield.
“Trying to add to an existing bet to enhance their winnings, or pinching a bet, where they’re trying to take chips away,” said Det. Lt. Connors, who explained that anyone who is caught is escorted out.
Piacente said when gamblers are banned, they often find their way back.
“There was one player that was backed out of a casino in Vegas. He went home, put on a disguise, different teeth, wig, came back, actually played on the game that he was just backed off from two hours prior,” he said.
State and Everett Police have increased their ranks in anticipation of Encore’s opening, and they’ve been busy training to learn about gambling industry laws and how to enforce them.