Wynn Resorts Prepared to Take Entire Board Before Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Posted on: December 20, 2018, 08:29h. 

Last updated on: January 2, 2019, 05:16h.

Wynn Resorts Chairman Phil Satre says the company’s entire board of directors is ready to travel to Massachusetts and make their case before state gaming regulators as to why the casino operator is suitable to maintain its license for Encore Boston Harbor.

Wynn Resorts Phil Satre Encore Boston Harbor
Wynn Resorts Chairman Phil Satre hopes to take a company fieldtrip to Massachusetts in order to better the odds of Encore Boston Harbor remaining licensed. (Image: Llyr Johansen/Commonwealth Magazine)

Construction continues at the $2.6 billion integrated casino resort across the Mystic River in Everett. So does an investigation at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to determine if Wynn Resorts executives purposely withheld knowledge of its founder’s alleged sexual misconduct during its bidding for the coveted Boston-area gaming license.

Satre, who became the Wynn chair only in November, tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he hopes to have as many board members at the MGC hearing as possible.

We’ve actually asked the entire board to be present at that hearing. Because we don’t know the exact date we can’t promise we’ll have everybody because people do have commitments that they’ve probably made serving on other boards and their own businesses that they run,” Satre explained.

The MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau is handling the review. Its report, however, won’t be made available to the agency’s four commissioners until a lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn on grounds Wynn Resorts and the MGC have violated attorney-client privileges is resolved.

Presenting New Face

Wynn Resorts has been stressing for nearly a year now that the company has never been about one man, and with its billionaire founder’s February resignation and subsequent sell off of his entire ownership stake, the casino operator has entered a new chapter.

“I’m delighted with the changes and the evolution that we’re experiencing at the company,” Satre added. “We know we have to get past the regulatory environment that we’re dealing with right now and we’ll do our best to convince our regulators of our qualification, the changes that we’ve made, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say I’m optimistic because I believe in the steps that have been taken.”

The changes Wynn Resorts have made are many. Matt Maddox now serves as CEO. Six of the Wynn board’s 10 members were appointed in 2018, and the group now includes three females.

Marilyn Spiegel is additionally set to become just the third female to be president of a Strip resort when she takes the helm of Wynn Las Vegas in 2019.

All Bets Off

The MGC can revoke or suspend Wynn’s $85 million gaming license, fine the company, or opt not to penalize and allow Encore Boston Harbor to open, which remains scheduled for June 2019. There’s a growing sense of unease in the region from community and state leaders over the lengthy and delayed investigative process.

Lawmakers and elected officials are warning that license revocation would substantially push back the casino’s opening until a new suitable operator is found, and that would result in an “enormous irreparable financial loss,” so says MGC Executive Director Edward Bedrosian.

Bedrosian’s conclusion is based on the reality that each day the resort’s opening is pushed back, thousands of workers remain off the job and revenue and tax dollars are lost.