Steve Wynn Wins Again, Nevada Court Says State Gaming Commission Overstepped Its Authority

Posted on: November 20, 2020, 10:36h. 

Last updated on: November 20, 2020, 02:37h.

Steve Wynn has secured another legal victory. This week, a judge ruled that the Nevada Gaming Commission overstepped its authority last year.

Steve Wynn Nevada Gaming Commission
A Nevada judge says the state Gaming Commission cannot regulate or penalize Steve Wynn, seen here, since he’s no longer involved in the casino business. (Image: Getty)

Clark County District Court Judge Adriana Escobar has ruled that Wynn’s resignation from his namesake company in February of 2018 ended the Gaming Commission’s regulatory authority over the casino tycoon. The state gaming agency last fall motioned to deem Wynn “unsuitable to be associated with a gaming enterprise or the gaming industry as a whole.”

The Nevada Gaming Commission additionally sought to fine the billionaire for the sexual misconduct allegations made against him during his tenure in Las Vegas. Judge Escobar says the commission lacked the legal power for such an act.

“Because Petitioner has no material involvement, directly or indirectly, with a licensed gaming operation, this Court finds that Respondents have no jurisdiction to impose discipline or fines against Petitioner,” the judge wrote.

Importantly, 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. Why? There is none,” the judge wrote. “In fact, the Commission conceded that Respondents have never sought to investigate, discipline, or fine a person that has completely divested themselves of the gaming industry with no intent of returning prior to the Board’s filing of this underlying complaint.”

This week’s ruling is the latest court victory for Wynn. In October, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with Wynn in his defamation lawsuit against the Associated Press.

52 Years Ends in 90 Days

Steve Wynn is credited with helping to transform Las Vegas from primarily a gambling town into a five-star luxury destination. His companies built The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, and Encore.

His career in the Las Vegas gaming industry dates back to 1967 when he acquired a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino. Fifty-two years later, Wynn exited the industry he loved and made him worth more than $3 billion. That’s after The Wall Street Journal published a report detailing decades of alleged sexual harassment committed by the Strip visionary.

Wynn continues to deny he ever acted inappropriately with his female employees. He says the allegations were instead the work of his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, with whom he was engaged at the time in a bitter divorce settlement.

Regardless, the WSJ article resulted in Wynn resigning as CEO and chairman of the Wynn Resorts board in February of 2018. He sold off his entire stake in the company in March.

Elaine Wynn Departs

Wynn Resorts lives on, but the two people who founded the empire are no longer involved in its operations. That’s the case as of this week, as Elaine Wynn is not eligible to continue serving on the company’s board because of Wynn Resorts age policy restrictions.

However, she remains the company’s largest individual shareholder with an 8.84 percent stake. Her removal from the board ends any Wynn name at the table.

Last month, Wynn Resorts named Darnell Strom to the board. Strom is currently a partner and head of the Culture and Leadership Division at the United Talent Agency.