Massachusetts Gaming Commission Opens Probe into Casino Boss Steve Wynn Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a probe into the sexual allegations against Las Vegas casino boss Steve Wynn. The regulatory body said that a revocation of Wynn Resorts’ casino license in the state is a possibility.

The company, founded and headed by Mr. Wynn himself, was issued said casino license in 2013, after Massachusetts legalized commercial casino gambling. Wynn Resorts was authorized to build an integrated resort with a casino facility in the city of Everett near Boston. The $2.4-billion Wynn Boston Harbor is currently under construction and is on schedule to open doors in June 2019.

The Wall Street Journal published on Friday an extensive report detailing a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn. Former and current Wynn Resorts employees have told the media outlet that they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances and were forced into performing sex acts with their boss.

According to Wall Street Journal’s report, one such incident resulted in Mr. Wynn paying a $7.5-million settlement to one of his alleged victims to keep the matter from the media.

In a Wednesday statement, Massachusetts gaming commissioners said that they were not informed about the above-mentioned settlement when they were reviewing Wynn Resorts’ suitability to operate a casino in the state.

Karen Wells, Director of Investigations and Enforcement Bureau at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said Wednesday that following the publication of the Wall Street Journal report, she talked with Wynn Resorts lawyers and they confirmed that there had indeed been a settlement of this kind, but it had represented a “private agreement” and had not been present in any court records.

In their 2013 review of the suitability of Wynn Resorts and its CEO to operate a casino in Massachusetts, state gaming commissioners included information provided by references of the casino boss who had described him as a “perfectionist” and a “highly ethical” person.

Ms. Wells explained on Wednesday that a licensee’s suitability usually represents their lack of any criminal ties and involvement of corruption scandals. However, she further pointed out that if there are allegations against a licensee’s integrity and good reputation, these need to be considered by the commission.

As mentioned above, the probe into Wynn Resorts could even result in revocation of its Massachusetts license.

Regulators “Concerned” and “Appalled” by the Allegations

Commenting on the recently emerged sexual harassment allegations against the casino mogul, Stephen Crosby, Chairman of MassGaming, told media that these were “appalling”. However, he stressed that any decisions by the Commission in relation to the scandal would be based on actual facts obtained by commissioners over the course of the probe.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau also opened probes into the allegations, expressing deep concern over these.

Macau, the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is legal, has become the largest revenue generator for Wynn Resorts. The company operates two integrated resorts in the city under a license that is valid through 2022. Analysts have pointed out that the findings of the ongoing probes into the allegations could put Wynn Resorts’ license renewal at serious risk.

In Nevada, the state gambling regulator confirmed on Tuesday that an investigation into Mr. Wynn has commenced. While there has been only one previous instance of a gambling executive being ousted from their company’s board due to pressure from the Gaming Control Board, experts and former gambling executive have pointed out that the seriousness of the allegations against Mr. Wynn could eventually cost him his Board seat. The regulatory body also told media Tuesday that a financial penalty, placement of certain conditions on Wynn Resorts’ Nevada license, and even license revocation are all possible outcomes.

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