Massachusetts state regulators have announced the casino giant Wynn Resorts has cut all ties with Steve Wynn, the company’s former CEO, chairman, and namesake. Mr. Wynn is no longer part of the company’s Massachusetts casino license or it’s Everett casino project. Removing Wynn was a qualifier for the Everett casino from the state’s gaming commission. Wynn Resorts noted Mr. Wynn had quit the company in February as well as selling all of his Wynn Resorts stock immediately afterward.
Mr. Wynn has been the center of controversy since The Wall Street Journal story in January reported accusations of decades long sexual misconduct against the casino founder. The company also announced recently that it would drop the name “Wynn” from its Massachusetts project. Once called Wynn Boston Harbor, the company decided in favor of Encore Boston Harbor, another of their hotel brands.
It has been reported by several news outlets that Wynn Resorts have talked to other companies about selling the Everett property. Despite all of their efforts to distance themselves from Mr. Wynn, their Massachusetts gambling license is still in jeopardy. Many investigations continue by not only the Massachusetts Gaming Commission but also Nevada regulators and an internal review by the company’s board of directors as well. State regulators want to know if the company had any knowledge of Mr. Wynn’s misconduct and if they did anything to stop it. Several former employees are on record saying the company did know and did nothing.
A casino license in Massachusetts will have many “individual qualifiers” for a company’s business leaders and top shareholders. They must pass extensive background checks to be found suitable for a gaming license. Mr. Wynn passed the background check and other preliminary qualifiers in 2013. However, the avalanche of accusations Mr. Wynn finds himself under now calls into question if he would, in fact, still be considered “suitable.” And this is why Wynn Resorts has acted so quickly as they try to distance themselves from Mr. Wynn.
“Based on the evidence presented, Wynn Resorts has worked quickly to separate itself from Mr. Wynn, including emblematically changing the name of the Everett property to Encore Boston Harbor,” the state’s commission wrote. The has been “substantial evidence” that the business relationship between Mr. Wynn and Wynn Resorts “has been terminated in a meaningful way.” The eight-page decision by the state’s commission is a step forward for the Encore Boston Harbor project in order to keep its Massachusetts license. However, the investigations continue and are not expected to be concluded until late summer.
Only after the company confirms that Mr. Wynn has not exercised voting rights at the annual Wynn Resorts shareholder meeting later this month and that Wynn Resorts has resolved an account of almost $200,000 between them and Mr. Wynn will the commission make its final judgement. In other words, the commission wants Mr. Wynn gone and gone right now. Wynn Resorts seems happy to comply.
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