The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) says its telephones have been ringing off the hook since the Wall Street Journal exposed sexual misconduct claims against Las Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn last month.
The flood of calls has led to the gaming regulator launching an online portal where information can be reported. The tip board can be accessed through the NGCB’s website at gaming.nv.com, and clicking on “Voluntary Statement” under the “What’s New?” section.
NGCB Chairwoman Becky Harris, the first woman to oversee the nation’s most important gaming regulatory agency, said the online page is long overdue. Harris’ tenure began just two weeks prior to the Wynn sexual allegation bombshell.
“It’s a communications tool to allow the public to better communicate with the board regarding any public investigation that the board announces,” Harris told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday.
“We’ve just had some days when our phone lines have been very, very busy and this is a way to help manage that so the board can continue to conduct its day-to-day business,” the Nevada Gaming Control Board chief explained.
The NGCB is one of three gaming agencies investigating the Wynn scandal. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau are additionally reviewing the decades-long claims of sexual misconduct against the former CEO, who stepped down one week ago today.
Harris said the online portal isn’t specific to the Wynn probe, but was set up to streamline the public’s input into both the Control Board’s current and future investigations.
“The Nevada Gaming Control Board has been receiving numerous communications regarding publicly announced investigations. In order to facilitate the submission … in a secure and confidential manner, the Board has established a dedicated form,” the Voluntary Statement reads on the NGCB website.
The apparent surplus of public tips in the wake of the Wynn allegations could assist in the NGCB determining if penal action against the billionaire’s casino empire is warranted. According to A.G. Burnett, the man Harris replaced last month, disciplinary action ranges anywhere from a financial penalty to complete license revocation.
Wynn Resorts Future
With a market value of about $17 billion, the consequences of Steve Wynn’s alleged conduct could potentially have wide-ranging impact across the entire gaming industry. The Wynn Resorts board is considering its options for moving forward without its namesake visionary.
Legal experts say the first step in assuring the company’s future is determining the scope of the purported sexual misdeeds. “Is it enough to get rid of Wynn, or is the issue cultural and systemic?” Northern Illinois University Law Professor Carliss Chatman explained to the Review-Journal in discussing the possible long-term fallout from the scandal.
In the WSJ’s report, female Wynn Resorts workers said the former CEO acted inappropriately towards them for decades. They stated that he routinely pressured massage therapists into taking $1,000 in exchange for sexual favors, and Wynn Las Vegas spa employees booked fictitious appointments for themselves and co-workers to avoid having to take him when they heard he was about to show up.
The Review-Journal later released a never-published report from 1998 with claims from female Mirage workers, saying they were pressured into “accommodating” high rollers in their hotel rooms. The account also detailed Wynn forcing himself on a grandmother who was in her 40s, telling her he wanted to “see how it feels.”