New Wynn Resorts CEO Says Growth Will Continue After Steve Wynn Exit, Japan Casino Still on Radar

Posted on: February 20, 2018, 09:45h. 

Last updated on: February 20, 2018, 09:46h.

Wynn Resorts new CEO Matt Maddox said in his first major address to employees on Monday that the company’s casino development projects in Las Vegas, Boston, and Macau will continue, and emphasized that the operator remains committed to obtaining an integrated resort license in Japan.

Wynn Resorts Matt Maddox
The new face of Wynn Resorts Matt Maddox is telling staff that life goes in the weeks following his longtime boss’s resignation, albeit with a new eye towards “gender equality.” (Image: Cathleen Allison/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Maddox, who replaced founder Steve Wynn on February 6 after the billionaire stepped down in light of ongoing sexual misconduct allegations, additionally told employees he was unaware of any such claims prior to them surfacing last month in the Wall Street Journal.

He urged Wynn Resorts workers to “hold off making any judgment until the investigations into the accusations are complete.” Wynn himself continues to deny assertions that he routinely took advantage of female employees. The Las Vegas tycoon believes his ex-wife Elaine fueled media reports supporting those claims, although she has also denied doing so.

Projects Continue

The sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn blew up during a very active development period for Wynn Resorts.

Wynn Palace, the company’s second property in Macau, but first on the coveted Cotai Strip, opened in August 2016 at a cost of more than $4 billion. The venue is expected to soon submit plans to the local government to add additional hotel rooms, restaurant space, and new entertainment options.

The casino developer is also in the midst of building Wynn Boston Harbor, a $2.4 billion integrated casino resort in Everett, Massachusetts. Gaming regulators there are investigating whether the company remains qualified to hold a casino license in the wake of Steve Wynn’s scandal.

At Wynn Las Vegas, a $1.5 billion water lagoon and 47-story, 1,500-room hotel tower called Paradise Park is under construction. And across the Strip, the company has plans to build a 2,000 to 3,000-room property.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Maddox told employees, “We are continuing to move forward as fast as we can. Our future projects are going to continue to be leading in innovation and creativity.”

Despite the sexual accusations against its founder, Maddox said Wynn Resorts will keep its namesake brand and logo. “Wynn is about the 25,000 people who work here. The name stands for quality. It stands for service. And it’s something that all of these 25,000 people look up to,” the CEO told workers, according to the AP.

Maddox noted the fact that 40 percent of its management are women, while calling for an even higher ratio. He also announced a new initiative that seeks to strengthen gender equality, the implementation of six-week paid parental leave, and the creation of a scholarship fund for employees’ ongoing education.

Panning for Japan

Wynn Resorts has its eyes set on Japan should the company legalize commercial gambling as it’s expected to do. But with just two integrated casino resorts likely to be authorized, the sex scandal surrounding Wynn Resorts’ founder presumably lengthens its odds of landing one of the permits.

Japan legislators are seeking casino operators with lengthy global histories in the industry, but also ones with strong reputations for integrity.

When the National Diet lifted its casino ban in 2016, the legislature said that the forthcoming regulatory bill must require that operators “have high morals, a sense of responsibility, and a clean nature.” With Steve Wynn now out of the picture, Wynn Resorts will hope it can convince Japan’s regulatory decision-makers that the company is now as honorable as an Eagle Scout.