Elaine Wynn Receives Blessing of Nevada Gaming Control Board

Posted on: September 10, 2020, 07:53h. 

Last updated on: September 10, 2020, 10:22h.

Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts, was unanimously recommended on Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) for beneficial ownership approval of the casino company that bears her name.

Elaine Wynn Nevada Wynn Resorts casinos
Elaine Wynn testified before the Nevada Gaming Control Board this week, where she discussed the company’s business environment in the two years since her ex-husband’s departure. (Image: Steve Marcus/Reuters)

The “Queen of Las Vegas” took questions remotely from the three-member NGCB regarding her stake in Wynn Resorts. The 78-year-old billionaire controls 8.84 percent of the company.

It’s a company I have great affection for, and I do like the name,” Wynn said.

The NGCB was reviewing Wynn’s application for a “finding of suitability as a beneficial owner” of a licensed casino operator. In Nevada, a “beneficial owner” is anyone who controls five to 10 percent of a casino’s voting power. Her application is in relation to her two-year standstill agreement with Wynn Resorts, which is a contract that contains provisions in how she purchases, disposes of, or votes.

With the backing of the NGCB, her application is scheduled to go before the Nevada Gaming Commission on Sept. 24.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is the final authority in acting on recommendations from the NGCB. The Commission decides on licensing matters and has the power to approve, restrict, limit, condition, deny, revoke, and suspend any gaming license. The Commission is additionally tasked with adopting regulations and implementing new gaming laws passed by the state.

Ex Questions Axed 

Elaine Wynn told the NGCB that she primarily discusses business dealings with Wynn Resorts Chair Phil Satre, CFO Craig Billings, and property presidents. She made no mention of CEO Matt Maddox, who was her former husband’s protégé and right-hand man.

Ms. Wynn had no interest in discussing her ex, Steve Wynn, the billionaire who changed the Las Vegas Strip and co-founded the company with her. Calling it “one of the most painful chapters” of her life, Ms. Wynn respectfully declined to comment on questions regarding the allegations regarding her former husband’s sexual misconduct.

The Wall Street Journal was first to detail a pattern of alleged sexual harassment — including rape — in January of 2018.

Mr. Wynn continues to deny that he ever acted inappropriately. However, it was later revealed that he paid a female employee $7.5 million in 2005 after she claimed to have been raped by the casino tycoon. Mr. Wynn admitted to paying the hush money, but claimed the manicurist took advantage of him.

It started off as a manicure,” he testified in 2017 in closed court documents that were late opened to state gaming regulators. Mr. Wynn said she then began rubbing his leg, and it led to sexual intercourse.

“Along comes this gal who had a turn with me, obviously being advised on what to do,” Mr. Wynn said at the time. “So, in this context, $7.5 million was not a significant number, and I paid it.”

Wynn Blasts Wynn

Steve Wynn stated in 2018 that the sexual scandal surrounding him was the work of Elaine.

“The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement,” Mr. Wynn said in January 2018.

The following month, he said during his resignation, “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created, one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts, I have reached the conclusion to step down.”

Ms. Wynn says she’s since worked to overhaul company leadership. She handpicked Satre, a longtime gaming industry veteran, to lead Wynn Resorts post-Steve Wynn.