Nevada Gaming Regulators Mulling Appeal of Steve Wynn Court Ruling

Posted on: November 25, 2020, 03:14h. 

Last updated on: November 25, 2020, 05:09h.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) will consider whether to appeal a recent court ruling that found the state agency no longer has any jurisdiction over Steve Wynn.

Nevada Gaming Commission Steve Wynn casino
Steve Wynn, seen here with President Donald Trump in Las Vegas in 2018, is the subject of a lawsuit brought forth by gaming regulators in Nevada. (Image: The New York Times)

Last week, Clark County District Court Judge Adriana Escobar ruled that the NGCB and its superior Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) overstepped their legal authority. They attempted to place a lifetime ban on Steve Wynn from being involved in the state gaming industry. The Gaming Commission determined that the 78-year-old is “unsuitable to be associated with a gaming enterprise or the gaming industry as a whole.”

Attorneys for the billionaire sued the state gaming agencies on grounds that since their client is no longer involved in any capacity in the Nevada gaming industry, the board and commission have no powers over him. Escobar agreed.

On the NGCB’s December 2 agenda, the three-member board will discuss whether to appeal the issue to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Penalties for Past Conduct

Steve Wynn exited the Nevada gaming industry in March of 2018. That departure came two months after The Wall Street Journal published a career-ending expose on the billionaire’s alleged sexual misconduct throughout his decades in Las Vegas. From forcing himself on female salon workers to fostering a workplace environment where women often feared to report such allegations, the WSJ piece forever damaged the casino tycoon’s reputation.

Wynn has consistently denied he ever acted inappropriately.

Regardless, his career in Nevada gaming effectively ended. He resigned from Wynn Resorts as chairman of the board and CEO in February of 2018 and sold off his entire stake in the company the following month.  He’s said to be living at his Florida beachfront mansion in Lantana, which he purchased last year for $43 million.

The NGCB has recommended to the Nevada Gaming Commission that Wynn be financially penalized for failing to adhere to state gaming laws during his tenure. A board investigation concluded five violations. They include failing to adhere to state regulations that require a licensed individual to be a person of good faith, and his failing to disclose to the state a $7.5 million payment he made to a woman who he allegedly sexually assaulted.

However, Judge Escobar’s says it’s too late to penalize Wynn.

“Respondents fail to support their position that they have jurisdiction over a person with no intent to be involved in Nevada’s gaming industry in the future,” she explained in her verdict.

Court Odds

Similar to the US Supreme Court, having a case accepted for review in the Nevada Supreme Court is far from a sure thing.

The Nevada Supreme Court received 2,536 cases in 2019 — the vast majority coming from Clark County (1,557). The final appeals court in the Silver State issued opinions on just 69 of the cases petitioned.

That equates to an acceptance rate of 2.7 percent.