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Encore given tick of approval

Sat, Jun 15, 11:32am by Staff Writer

Massachusetts gambling regulators have given Wynn Resorts key approvals for opening its near $3 billion Boston-area casino.

The Washington Post reports that the state’s Gaming Commission on Wednesday authorised Wynn to conduct three trial gambling days next week after commission staff inspected Encore Boston Harbor’s 3,158 slot machines, 143 table games and 88 poker tables.

The commission also confirmed Wynn has met or exceeded most of its licence requirements.

Company officials acknowledged they’re still working to meet a goal to have women comprise 50 per cent of the casino staff.

They so far represent 44 per cent.

The Everett resort official opens June 23.

Wynn paid fines to Massachusetts board

The company paid Massachusetts a record US$35.5 million in fines last month for failing to disclose the allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn, who denies the allegations but resigned as chief executive officer.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also fined CEO Matthew Maddox US$500,000 for his ‘clear failure’ to require an investigation of at least one misconduct complaint he’d been aware of.

It also required the Nevada company, which also owns properties in Las Vegas and Macau, to be subject to review by an independent firm selected by the state as a condition of maintaining its licence.

Wynn Resorts and lawyers for Steve Wynn didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on the late evening decision, which effectively clears the way for the opening of the company’s US$2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbour resort in June.

The long-awaited decision comes after the commission released a report last month of more than 200 pages, held tree days of public hearings and deliberated for nearly four weeks on what company officials knew and did about the allegations.

Steve Wynn has denied the claims, saying his relationships with female employees, many of them spa workers and cocktail waitresses, had been consensual.

Wynn fined $20 million by Nevada regulators

He resigned as CEO last year after the Wall Street Journal first reported on the allegations.

Nevada regulators, after an investigation similar to Massachusetts’ earlier this year, levied a US$20 million fine on the company, but also allowed it to retain its casino licence.

Regulators in both states were focused on how long company officials were aware of the allegations and how they responded, rather than the truth behind the claims.

In Massachusetts, gambling investigators found company officials were aware of many of the allegations but failed to report them to internal investigators or take other steps mandated in the company’s sexual harassment policies.

They also found Wynn officials failed to disclose to regulators settlements paid out to Steve Wynn’s accusers during their initial application for a casino licence.

Among them was a US$7.5 million Steve Wynn personally paid in 2005 to a former salon employee who alleged she’d become pregnant after Wynn raped her.

Massachusetts regulators also found Wynn executives were aware but didn’t disclose at least three other complaints casino massage therapists brought against Steve Wynn as the company was being vetted by the state from 2013 to 2014.

Wynn Resorts officials argue the company has fundamentally changed since the scandal.

Every top executive that actively covered up or failed to act on the allegations has been fired.


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