Wynn Boston Harbor Failed to Disclose $7.5 Million Settlement, Massachusetts Gaming Commission Taking Its Time to Consider Facts

Posted on: February 1, 2018, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: February 1, 2018, 11:17h.

While applying for a casino license in 2013, Wynn Boston Harbor kept a $7.5 million settlement made by parent company Wynn Resorts back in 2005 from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

Wynn Boston Harbor sexual allegations
The Wynn Boston Harbor casino application didn’t reveal a multimillion settlement made earlier by Wynn Resorts to an employee allegedly sexually accosted by CEO Steve Wynn in Las Vegas. (Image: Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe)

The payment was made to a female employee who claimed the billionaire forced her to have sex with him on the premises of his Las Vegas casino resort property, which allegedly occurred the same year as the settlement. The payment was kept under wraps, according to the MGC’s Karen Wells.

Suitability Questions

The MGC is wasting no time looking into the charges, as the $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor integrated casino resort continues to undergo construction in Everett. On Wednesday, state gaming regulators met to discuss the recent developments.

MGC Director of Investigations and Enforcement Bureau Karen Wells revealed at the meeting, “Both the lead investigator for the consultant law firm … as well as the state police detective assigned to the investigation confirmed to me that the allegations and the settlement agreement were not identified.”

In 2013, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued Wynn MA LLC, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts, a 15-year casino license for “Region A.” The central and northeastern area encompasses Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties, and is one of just three destination resort permits in the state.

During the bidding for the coveted Region A license, which included Boston, gaming investigators compiling Steve Wynn’s suitability report citied him as being “highly ethical,” and “a perfectionist who is passionate about everything he does.”

Section 12 of the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act mandates that the MGC consider “the integrity, honesty, good character and reputation of the applicant” in determining the bidder’s suitability. The 2011 law adds that a casino license is a “revocable privilege” that can be suspended or annulled should holders not live up to the state’s qualifying standards.

No Rush to Judgment

Defendants are deemed innocent until proven guilty in the courtroom, but in the court of public opinion, that’s far from the case. Wynn’s reputation is taking a beating, despite his claims that the sexual allegations are false and being fueled by his ex-wife Elaine.

The scandal has already led to his ousting as the finance chair of the Republican National Committee. Some industry experts are suggesting he might soon be pressured to step down from the company he founded in 2002 as well.

But gaming regulators say they will not react emotionally to the news, and instead plan to form conclusions once all the facts are known.

“The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here,” MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby stated. “However, the commission’s ultimate assessment of this matter and any resulting decisions cannot be based on anonymous allegations in a news article but must be firmly grounded in facts established by our investigators.”

In the wake of numerous sexual misconduct allegations being made against Wynn, gaming regulators in jurisdictions where the casino tycoon owns properties — Nevada, Macau, and Massachusetts — are investigating whether the accusations warrant fines, and potentially license revocation.