Steve Wynn, Massachusetts Gaming Commission to Settle Lawsuit

Posted on: February 21, 2019, 10:13h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2019, 10:13h.

Steve Wynn and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) are expected to soon settle a lawsuit the billionaire filed against the regulatory agency to block the release of materials stemming from its investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.

Steve Wynn lawsuit Massachusetts casino
Steve Wynn is ready to settle a lawsuit with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. (Image: Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY)

On Wednesday, the MGC voted to authorize its legal counsel to finalize the lawsuit with attorneys representing Wynn.

The MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau began a probe into Wynn Resorts last year following the bombshell expose published by The Wall Street Journal that detailed decades of alleged sexual harassment committed by the billionaire.

The regulator is determining if the casino operator purposely withheld knowledge of the claims during its 2013 bidding for the Boston-area gaming license.

Wynn Resorts won the integrated resort license for the Region A area. The MGC picked the Las Vegas-based company over another bid presented by Mohegan Sun and the Suffolk Downs racetrack.

Review Ongoing

The five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission is still waiting to receive the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau’s report. The review cannot be handed over to the MGC until the lawsuit with Wynn is settled.

We have worked closely with attorneys for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and for Steve Wynn to reach a resolution that allows the commission to receive the information it believes is necessary to complete its investigation,” Wynn Resorts said in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We are hopeful a hearing before the commission will be scheduled soon.”

The MGC has several options after reviewing the investigation findings. It can do nothing and allow the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor to open, impose some sort of financial penalty on the company, or the worst-case scenario: conclude Wynn Resorts is not suitable to operate in the state and revoke its gaming license.

Wynn and MGM Resorts both paid $85 million for their Category 1 casino licenses in Massachusetts.

Wynn Winning

The fallout from Steve Wynn’s alleged actions continues to damper the casino company he founded. Wynn Resorts lawyers have been busy navigating a myriad of lawsuits.

Last month, Wynn Resorts reached a settlement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The regulatory agency found that on at least seven occasions, executives at the company became aware of the billionaire’s alleged inappropriate behavior towards female workers.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will levy a fine on Wynn Resorts at a later date, but the company will retain its coveted operating licenses in the Silver State.

The NGCB conclusions don’t bode well for Wynn Resorts in Massachusetts. But gaming analyst Clyde Barrow believes the MGC will follow Nevada’s lead and simply impose a financial penalty on the company.

However, he says there is a slim chance the agency will consider more damaging penalties. “The contention could be, ‘Yes, you knew you were being investigated, and you covered it up,'” Barrow told the Boston Herald.

But the analyst added Wynn’s high turnover rate among leadership lengthens the odds of Massachusetts concluding that the company purposely misled the state about the sexual misconduct allegations.