Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Schedule Wynn Hearings, Casino Execs Say Company Transformed
Posted on: March 24, 2019, 04:00h.
Last updated on: April 1, 2019, 12:16h.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will begin its hearings on Wynn Resorts’ suitability to operate a casino in the state on April 1.
After months of legal delays, the five-member commission has received its agency’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau report detailing whether Wynn Resorts purposely withheld knowledge of the company’s founder and former CEO’s alleged sexual misconduct during its 2013 bidding for the Boston-area gaming license.
Wynn Resorts beat out a competing bid from Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs horse racetrack. At the time of being awarded the Region B license, the MGC concluded that Steve Wynn was “highly ethical,” and “a perfectionist who is passionate about everything he does.”
The commission will decide whether to impose a financial penalty on the casino operator, or worse yet – revoke the $85 million casino concession.
In its own investigation, the Nevada Gaming Control Board concluded that Wynn Resorts executives or upper management became aware of the sexual misconduct allegations on numerous occassions, but did little in response. The state subsequently imposed a record $20 million fine on the company, but did not revoke its casino licenses.
In the leadup to the Massachusetts gaming hearings, Wynn Resorts continues to do damage control in an effort to highlight its changed culture. New CEO Matt Maddox says the company has never been about one man, and highlights the leadership overhaul as an important step the company has taken since his billionaire mentor resigned more than a year ago.
Over the past 12 months, Wynn Resorts has undergone a corporate transformation,” a Wynn release filed with the MGC declares. “The individuals who failed to live up to the company’s high standards and values have all been removed.”
Wynn Resorts says it conducted its own internal investigation into the sexual misconduct safeguard shortcomings, revamped its board and executive management team, implemented a “Preventing Harassment and Discrimination Policy,” and now mandates that all employees undergo sexual harassment training.
Odds Favor Fine
Wynn’s $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor is scheduled to open June 23, and the property is now taking reservations. The MGC’s decision to revoke the casino’s operating permit would suspend thousands of jobs, and likely lead to millions of dollars in lost tax revenue and regional economic benefits.
That’s why some analysts believe the commission will simply impose a fine on the casino operator for failing to disclose the sexual allegations, should the MGC determine they were known.
Gaming analyst Clyde Barrow predicts all the blame will be placed on the billionaire. “It’ll look bad for Wynn, and the commission will plead, ‘We didn’t know to look for it, and they withheld information,'” he stated.
However, if the MGC does indeed pull the license, Mohegan Sun says it would be interested in acquiring the integrated casino resort and entering the Massachusetts market. “Mohegan Sun is prepared to participate in a process that would assign that license to another operator,” the tribal gaming group said late last year.
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Last Comments ( 2 )
Whst are the remaining choices? 1- Allow Wynn to open hiring 6000 employees, monitor their operations, and approve 2- Suggest Wynn sell the entire investment which will delay the opening by about a year . 3- Shut down the possibility of any casino opening Clearly a casino will open I predict that either a Malaysian or Chinese investor will buy Wynn Boston if not approved. Many of the five star aspects will be modified. Wynn currently is the leader on operating five stars restaurants. Be careful what you actually end up with. There are many companies that have gotten new leadership and are allowed to operate. If Wynn is denied their license whst is that based on. Look for lawsuits filed by Wynn based on a shakedown policy that did not allow a corporation to rectify past possible grievances. Will go to the Supreme Court which is currently pro business. Boston May have huge penalty to pay now that major changes have been made I would give approval to Wynn.
Wynn Resorts deserves the opportunity to demonstrate that the commitments made regarding the organization and new management are worthy of the license. Give them a chance I’m sure no one will be disappointed. W.O. Halliday Chicago Illinois.