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General Laws

Section 36. (a) The bureau may assess a civil administrative penalty on a licensee or registrant who fails to comply with any provision of this chapter or any regulation or order adopted by the commission; provided, however, that the noncompliance shall have occurred after the bureau had given such person written notice of the noncompliance and the time stated in the notice for coming into compliance had elapsed; provided further, that the bureau may assess a penalty without providing written notice if the failure to comply: (i) was part of a pattern of noncompliance and not an isolated instance; (ii) was willful or neglectful and not the result of error; (iii) resulted in a significant breach to the integrity of the gaming establishment or gaming laws of the commonwealth; and (iv) consisted of failure to promptly report to the commission any knowledge of evidence or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that a violation of this chapter had been committed. The civil administrative penalty shall be in addition to any other civil penalty that may be prescribed by law.

(b) For the purpose of determining whether such noncompliance was part of a pattern of noncompliance and not an isolated instance, the bureau shall consider, without limitation: (i) whether the bureau had previously notified the person of such noncompliance on more than 1 occasion during the previous month or of any noncompliance with the same provision of a law, regulation, order, license or approval as the current noncompliance during the previous 6-month period; or (ii) whether the current and previous noncompliances, considered together, indicate a potential threat to the integrity of the gaming establishment and gaming in the commonwealth or an interference with the commission’s ability to efficiently and effectively regulate gaming in the commonwealth and enforce any regulation, license or order. If a licensee or registrant who has received a notice of noncompliance fails to come into compliance within the time period stated in the notice, the civil administrative penalty may be assessed by the bureau upon the licensee or registrant from the date of receipt of such notice.

(c) Whenever the bureau seeks to assess a civil administrative penalty on a licensee or registrant, the bureau shall cause to be served upon the licensee or registrant, either by service in hand or by certified mail, return receipt requested, a written notice of its intent to assess a civil administrative penalty which shall include a concise statement of the alleged act or omission for which such civil administrative penalty is sought to be assessed, each law, regulation, order, license or approval which has not been complied with as a result of such alleged act or omission, the amount which the bureau seeks to assess as a civil administrative penalty for each alleged act or omission, a statement of the licensee’s or registrant’s right to an adjudicatory hearing on the proposed assessment, the requirements the licensee or registrant shall comply with to avoid being deemed to have waived the right to an adjudicatory hearing and the manner of payment thereof if the person elects to pay the penalty and waive an adjudicatory hearing. After written notice of noncompliance or intent to assess a civil administrative penalty has been given, each day thereafter during which noncompliance occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense and shall be subject to a separate civil administrative penalty if reasonable efforts have not been made by the licensee or registrant to promptly come into compliance.

(d) Whenever the bureau seeks to assess a civil administrative penalty on a licensee or registrant, the licensee or registrant shall have the right to an adjudicatory hearing under chapter 30A, the provisions of which shall apply except when they are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(e) A licensee or registrant shall be deemed to have waived its right to an adjudicatory hearing unless, within 21 days of the date of the bureau’s notice that it seeks to assess a civil administrative penalty, the licensee or registrant files with the bureau a written statement denying the occurrence of any of the acts or omissions alleged by the bureau in the notice, or asserting that the amount of the proposed civil administrative penalty is excessive. In an adjudicatory hearing authorized under chapter 30A, the bureau shall, by a preponderance of the evidence, prove the occurrence of each act or omission alleged by the bureau.

(f) If a licensee or registrant waives the right to an adjudicatory hearing, the proposed civil administrative penalty shall be final immediately upon such waiver. If a civil administrative penalty is assessed at the conclusion of an adjudicatory hearing, the civil administrative penalty shall be final upon the expiration of 30 days if no action for judicial review of the decision is commenced under chapter 30A.

(g) A licensee or registrant who institutes proceedings for judicial review of the final assessment of a civil administrative penalty shall place the full amount of the final assessment in an interest-bearing escrow account in the custody of the clerk or magistrate of the reviewing court. The establishment of an interest-bearing escrow account shall be a condition precedent to the jurisdiction of the reviewing court unless the party seeking judicial review demonstrates in a preliminary hearing held within 20 days after the filing of the complaint either the presence of a substantial question for review by the court or an inability to pay. Upon such a demonstration, the court may grant an extension or waiver of the interest-bearing escrow account or may require, in lieu of such interest-bearing escrow account, the posting of a bond payable directly to the commonwealth in the amount of 125 per cent of the assessed penalty. If, after judicial review, in a case where the requirement for an escrow account has been waived, and in cases where a bond has been posted in lieu of such requirement, the court affirms, in whole or in part, the assessment of a civil administrative penalty, the commission shall be paid the amount thereof together with interest at the rate provided in section 6C of chapter 231. If, after such review in a case where an interest-bearing escrow account has been established, the court affirms the assessment of such penalty, in whole or in part, the commission shall be paid the amount thereof together with the accumulated interest in the interest-bearing escrow account. If the court sets aside the assessment of a civil administrative penalty in a case where the amount of such penalty has been deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account, the licensee or registrant on whom the civil administrative penalty was assessed shall be repaid the amount so set aside, together with the accumulated interest thereon.

(h) Each licensee or registrant who fails to timely pay a civil administrative penalty and each person who issues a bond under this section and who fails to timely pay to the commission the amount required hereunder, shall be liable to the commonwealth for up to 3 times the amount of the civil administrative penalty, together with costs, plus interest from the time the civil administrative penalty became final and attorneys’ fees, including all costs and attorneys’ fees incurred directly in the collection thereof. The rate of interest shall be the rate provided in section 6C of chapter 231. The bureau shall be authorized to require that the amount of a civil administrative penalty imposed under this section exceed any economic benefit realized by a person for noncompliance.

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