Wynn Resorts Proposes Banning Steve Wynn from Properties to Save Massachusetts License
Steve Wynn’s name may be on the outside of buildings, but soon he may be barred from being inside of them. As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ponders the fate of Wynn Resorts’ state gaming license, the company has suggested that its founder be prohibited from stepping foot on the premises of any of its properties.
Wynn Resorts is planning to open Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts in June; the property comes with a price tag of $2.6 billion. Just two months out, it should come as no surprise that staffing has been well underway and guests have already booked rooms. But even though the train has left the station, the opening of Encore Boston Harbor could be in jeopardy, as the Commission held a three-day hearing last week to discuss the suitability of the company – and CEO Matt Maddox, in particular – to keep its casino license in the state.
The issue at hand is how Maddox and Wynn Resorts handled last year’s sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn. Then again, to say Wynn’s behavior was “misconduct” is underselling it.
Steve Wynn is a Monster
In January 2018, the Wall Street Journal published a shocking article about how the gambling giant ran roughshod through his Las Vegas properties, regularly sexually assaulting female employees and forcing some into sexual acts.
One example given was of a manicurist who gave Wynn a manicure in his office in 2005. At the completion of the service, “….he pressured her to take her clothes off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite… she told Mr. Wynn she didn’t want to have sex and was married, but he persisted in his demands that she do so, and ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex….”
Wynn paid the manicurist $7.5 million as part of a settlement, but even then, he paid it through a limited-liability company to hide the source of the money. Can’t let it be known that Steve Wynn did something wrong, after all.
Wynn’s sexual predation was so common and so well-known that employees would actually create fake appointments so that female employees would not have to see Wynn. If it was impossible to avoid him, others would pretend to be assistants so that the massage therapist or manicurist (or similar service provider) would not have to be alone with Wynn.
There are countless stories of Wynn’s monstrous behavior. How he would insist on being naked during massages and then force the therapists to perform sex acts on him. How one waitress in her late 40’s felt she had to have sex with Wynn in order to keep her job, that he was turned on to learn that she had recently become a grandmother.
Wynn resigned in February 2008 as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, though he still denies any wrongdoing, calling the allegations “preposterous”.
Wynn Resorts Needs to Take a Drastic Measure
As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is deciding what to do with the company’s gaming license, Wynn Resorts filed a legal brief, suggesting a number of measures it could take to improve itself and regain its standing in the eyes of the Commission.
One of those suggestions: ban Steve Wynn from all Wynn properties.
Anthony Cabot, a distinguished fellow at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that this would be one hell of a step.
“It’s hard for me to ever imagine that Steve Wynn is a has-been,” he said. “He has had such a historical place in the development of Las Vegas, but I do think it’s something the company can do if they want to do it and I think they’re trying to send a message to Massachusetts that they’ve severed all relationships.”
According to the Review-Journal, some of the other suggestions put forth by the company are:
- That any sexual assault or harassment reports be thoroughly investigated by a compliance committee and that any disciplinary actions, settlements or terminations be reported promptly to the commission.
- That the compliance committee continue to be composed of independent board members.
- That discrimination and harassment policies be reviewed annually by an outside expert.
- That new employees receive discrimination and harassment training within six months of hiring and that policy reviews occur annually.
- That board members or executives not use any legal counsel that had represented Steve Wynn.
- That any civil case against a Wynn Resorts qualifier be reported to the commission within 10 days.
- That the company report any circumstance involving a qualifier’s suitability to the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau promptly.
While the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is still dealing with this matter, the Nevada Gaming Commission has already weighed in. In February, the NGC hit Wynn Resorts with a $20 million fine for failing to provide proper oversight in regards to behaviors such as Steve Wynn’s.
“It’s not about one man,” NGC Commissioner Philip Pro said of the record fine. “It’s about a failure of a corporate culture to effectively govern itself as it should.”