Wynn Boston Harbor Investigation a Priority, But Massachusetts Gaming Commission Mum on Details

Posted on: February 23, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2018, 02:45h.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) members said at a meeting on Thursday that its investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations made against Steve Wynn remains a top priority. Wynn Resorts is currently constructing Wynn Boston Harbor, a $2.4 billion integrated casino resort on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Wynn Boston
Governor Charlie Baker says the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will have the final say in determining if Wynn Resorts should be subject to any disciplinary action once the regulator completes its investigation into former CEO Steve Wynn’s alleged improprieties. (Image: Angela Rowlings/Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

As part of his departure agreement, Steve Wynn agreed to cooperate with all investigations surrounding the alleged misconduct events.

Private Investigators

The MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau launched its probe of the billionaire and his Wynn Resorts empire in late January, right after reports surfaced that the casino tycoon repeatedly took advantage of female employees working at his Las Vegas properties over the course of several decades.

State gaming officials confirmed the investigation is ongoing, but provided few other details.

“It is an active investigation, and it is a priority,” MGC Enforcement Director Loretta Lillios stated. “The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau does not intend to provide the commission or the public with details of this investigation until it’s completed.”

Last month, The Wall Street Journal published an expose detailing years of alleged sexual abuse by Steve Wynn. The mogul denies the numerous claims, which includes a reported $7.5 million settlement to a worker he allegedly forced into having sex against her will. Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO from the company he created 16 years ago earlier this month.

Along with regulatory agencies in Las Vegas and Macau, the two other jurisdictions where Wynn Resorts does business, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is trying to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted in relation to the sex scandal.

RGA Not Political?

In Massachusetts, the three 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidates hoping to square off against Republican incumbent Governor Charlie Baker all asked the MGC to determine whether a 2014 political donation from Wynn to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) violated state gaming laws. The RGA supports Republican gubernatorial candidates across the country.

Massachusetts’ Expanded Gaming Act bars casino license applicants from making state or political donations. Wynn’s 2014 contribution came while the billionaire’s company was bidding for the Boston gaming license. Lillios determined it was a legal contribution. “Based on the evidence we reviewed, the contribution did not run afoul of Massachusetts law,” she declared Thursday.

The RGA said it didn’t use the money to support Baker’s 2014 gubernatorial run, even though the group gave $2 million to Baker’s campaign just 10 days after receiving Wynn’s cash. But Lillios added that the RGA is not classified as a political committee in Massachusetts, and is therefore exempt from any such political donation laws.

According to the RGA’s own website, its mission includes the following:

  • To assist in the election of Republican gubernatorial candidates and the reelection of incumbent Republican Governors.
  • To utilize the talent, knowledge, and creativity of the governors to effectively shape public policy issues affecting the states.
  • To enable Republican Governors to express, develop and promote the philosophy of the Republican party at the state and local levels nationwide. 

Baker says he is “appalled” by the Wynn accusations, and has urged the RGA to return the $2 million donation made by the former casino magnate.

There’s no timetable as to when the MGC might finalize and release its investigation to the public. The possible penalties are varied. The agency could fine Wynn Resorts for its alleged failure to protect workers. The regulator could also revoke Wynn Boston’s license, although this possibility remains improbable.