Steve Wynn to fight Nevada commission’s fine

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Wynn pivots to grow fourth quarter earnings

Nevada gambling regulators are showing no signs of letting disgraced casino icon Steve Wynn off the hook.

Calvin Ayre reports that the Nevada Gambling Commission has unanimously ruled that it had the necessary jurisdiction to impose sanctions on Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn, who was forced to resign from the company following an endless parade of sexual harassment allegations involving the company’s female staff.

Mr Wynn divested himself of his considerable holding in Wynn Resorts shortly after his resignation, which in his mind effectively ended his ties to Nevada’s gaming industry.

As such, his attorneys have pushed back on Nevada regulators’ efforts to declare him “unsuitable” to hold a state gaming licence and fine hum up to $500,000 for bringing the state’s gaming industry into disrepute.

According to the commission, it unanimously decided to punish Mr Wynn for besmirching the state’s good name.

Commissioner John Moran said the NGC “have the power to look at acts and conduct that is alleged, no matter who leaves and at what point.”

Oher commissioners pointed out that Mr Wynn was still involved with his former company at the time the alleged harassment occurred.

Deputy state attorney general Steve Shevorski warned the NGC that letting Mr Wynn skate would set a dangerous precedent for future offenders, who might opt to shed their Nevada ties the moment they face possible punishment for activity that could negatively reflect on the sector.

Wynn’s attorney Donald Campbell argued that “there is nothing for the commission to revoke”, insisting that Mr Wynn has “no intention to re-enter gaming in Nevada or anywhere else in the world.”

Following the NGC’s vote, Campbell told reporters that Mr Wynn would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Mr Wynn has vehemently denied the allegations made against him, but recently contributed $20 million to help Wynn Resorts settle shareholder lawsuits accusing senior management of helping to cover up his alleged failings.

Wynn Resorts has also been subject to record fines in Nevada of US$20 million and US$35.5 million in Massachusetts.

Wynn fined $50 million

Gambling regulators in the American state of Massachusetts have come down hard on Wynn Resorts, fining them US$35 million (A$50 million), but is crucially allowing the company to keep its casino licence after executives failed to disclose allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn.

The Age is reporting that 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 three 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.

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