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Massachusetts Governor Says Wynn Unsuitable For Licensure If Allegations Proven True

Written By Martin Derbyshire on January 30, 2018
Wynn Casino in Las Vegas

Just days after announcing his company’s plans to increase its Las Vegas, Nevada footprint, and offering an approximate date when its new Massachusetts casino project would open, casino mogul and Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn is facing the possibility of investigations by gaming authorities in both states. The Wall Street Journal published a report detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn at the end of last week.

According to the report, Wynn Resorts employees claim Wynn sexualized the workplace as a part of a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct.

Wynn has responded, saying the idea that he ever assaulted any woman is preposterous:

“We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.”

On Wynn Resorts’ fourth quarter earnings call last week, which preceded the publication of the allegations, Wynn confirmed the company’s new $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor hotel and casino in Everett, Massachusetts, now under construction just outside of Boston, would open in May or June 2019.

MA Gaming Commission plans regulatory review

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) issued a license for the property in 2014. Construction began in 2016. However, the commission issued a statement Sunday saying it is now aware of the sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn and is taking them very seriously.

In fact, the statement says the commission will be conducting a regulatory review:

“The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process. Consequently, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will conduct a regulatory review of this matter to determine the appropriate next steps.”

Additionally, members of the Everett City Council are reporting they plan to hold an emergency meeting in regards to Wynn’s suitability as a casino operator in the city in light of the allegations.

Gov. Charlie Baker comments on Wynn allegations

During an appearance on his monthly “Ask The Governor” radio spot on local station WGBH, host Jim Braude asked Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker about Wynn. Namely how these allegations could affect the license of the forthcoming casino. Baker adamantly pointed out MGC is an independent entity he has no influence over.

Braude went on to ask if Baker personally thought Wynn was fit to hold an MA gaming license should the allegations prove true. Baker’s response was very clear.

“No. God, no.”

Nevada Gaming Control Board also reviewing information

On the earnings call, Wynn also laid out plans to build a new 2,000 to 3,000-room hotel. It is planned for a 38-acre plot of Las Vegas Strip land from Paradise Road to Sammy Davis Jr. Drive adjacent to the company’s Wynn Las Vegas and Encore properties.

Plans are to build Wynn West over the next couple of years. It will connect to the Beach Club outside Encore and Wynn through an air-conditioned bridge running over the Strip.

Construction is already underway on the company’s Wynn Paradise Park project. It includes a 1,500-room hotel between the the existing Wynn and Encore towers. Plus, the project features a 1,600 foot long and 700 foot wide lagoon surrounded by a boardwalk and a beach.

Following the allegations, Nevada Gaming Control Board’s new Chairwoman Becky Harris issued a statement. It says the board is aware of the situation and reviewing the information.

In the meantime, Wynn Resorts stock prices have dropped significantly since the allegations came to light.

Wynn board investigating

Additionally, Wynn Resorts’ board announced late Friday a special committee will investigate the allegations against the company’s founder and CEO.

The special committee of independent directors is going to be led by Patricia Mulroy. Mulroy was previously a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Saturday, Wynn also stepped down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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