Tags: steve wynn | casino | sexual harassment | gambling

Casino Regulators Have Power to Force Steve Wynn From Industry

Casino Regulators Have Power to Force Steve Wynn From Industry
(©Anthony Aneese Totah Jr/Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 04:05 PM

Steve Wynn is the biggest shareholder of the casino company that bears his name, and he’s transformed Las Vegas with trailblazing projects. That doesn’t make him invincible.

Casino regulators have the authority to force him out of the industry over allegations that he sexually harassed female employees for years at his resorts, according to former officials and legal experts.

“Nevada regulators have a broad range of options when it comes to potential disciplining of a licensee,” AG Burnett, former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s top regulatory body, said in an interview. “These include things like complaints, fines, and even potentially revocation.”

Officials from Massachusetts to Macau are looking into the accusations published on Jan. 26 in the Wall Street Journal. They include allegations that Wynn, 76, pressured massage therapists to perform sex acts on him and paid $7.5 million to settle claims by a manicurist that he forced himself on her. Independent directors of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd. are also conducting an investigation. Wynn has denied any wrongdoing, saying “the idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”

Regulation 5, an often cited chapter in Nevada casino law, says state regulators must require that all establishments operate in a “manner suitable to protect the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare” of state inhabitants.

While gambling attorneys say its rare for an operator’s licenses to be revoked, there is precedent for the state forcing a company to dismiss an executive. In 2016, Nevada regulators required that Lee Amaitis, the chief executive of CG Technology, formerly known as Cantor Gaming, step down to settle claims that the sports betting company underpaid customers.

Becky Harris, the control board’s chairwoman, has said her staff is reviewing the Wynn allegations. In such cases, the agency has the legal power to conduct an investigation and bring the results to the three-member board, who are gubernatorial appointees. If the licensee disputes the board’s conclusion, the case can be brought to the five-member gaming commission, part-time overseers who are also gubernatorial appointees, for a final judgment.

In Massachusetts, where Wynn Resorts is building a $2.4 billion casino on Boston Harbor, the company could be in trouble with regulators for failing to disclose the settlement during the licensing process. The state granted Wynn and his company a license after an extensive background check. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will hold a public meeting on the Wynn allegations Wednesday.

“If you’re able to demonstrate there’s an ongoing pattern, something that infringes on the character the state is supposed to show, a revocation process could begin,” said Cory Aronovitz, a gambling attorney in Chicago. “These are privileged licenses. They’re hard to get and easy to lose.”

© Copyright 2019 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

1Like our page
Steve Wynn is the biggest shareholder of the casino company that bears his name, and he's transformed Las Vegas with trailblazing projects.
steve wynn, casino, sexual harassment, gambling
Tuesday, 30 January 2018 04:05 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved