Steve Wynn Reaches Deal with Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Report Wynn

Steve Wynn sued in November to keep his personal information out of the MGC report.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission and former casino executive Steve Wynn are close to reaching a deal which would allow the commission to release a report on Encore Boston Harbor. The MGC voted on Wednesday to allow its legal counsel to file the agreement with the Clark County District Court in Las Vegas.

Late last year, Steve Wynn’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in Clark County citing attorney/client privilege in a move that would block the MGC’s investigation into Wynn Resorts’ board of directors.

The purpose of the Massachusetts regulators’ probe was to determine if Wynn’s board had ignored warning signs about Steve Wynn’s alleged misconduct over the past decade-plus. The commission opened the probe in May 2018 to determine whether Wynn Resorts deserved its gaming license for Encore Boston Harbor.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports suggest it will protect Steve Wynn’s privacy while allowing the commission to publish its report.

Steve Wynn’s Lawyer Speaks

Brian Kelly, a Massachusetts attorney who represents Steve Wynn, said the agreement “ensures that no privileged materials are improperly utilized” by investigators for the Massachusetts regulators. Presumably, the final report will be vetted by Steve Wynn’s lawyers before its release.

In January, Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that the information in the report would remain sealed until she could determine whether attorney/client privilege pertained to the case. The ruling allowed some cooling off time in which the two sides could negotiate. Since the decision could go either way, Steve Wynn and Massachusetts officials decided to take a pragmatic bargain.

Steve Wynn Leaves Wynn Resorts: Feb 2018

In February 2018, Steve Wynn stepped down as chief executive of Wynn Resorts. Weeks before, the Wall Street Journal had released an article detailing sexual harassment charges by a variety of current and former Wynn Resorts employees.

Most of the accusations came from salon workers in the Las Vegas casino company’s casino-resorts. The most problematic charge came from a 2005 case in which Wynn Resorts paid an accuser $7.5 million. A 2015 lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn’s estranged former wife, Elaine Wynn, claimed the company’s board of directors ignored many allegations against their boss.

Those charges led to a full investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. A report stemming from that investigation was supposed to be released in December 2018, but a November 2018 filing by Steve Wynn kept that from happening.

Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Report

In the meantime, Nevada regulators published their own report on Steve Wynn’s alleged misconduct and the Wynn Resorts board’s reaction to it. The Nevada report included 10 separate charges against the board, including acknowledgements that Steve Wynn chased “cocktail waitresses” at his resorts.

The findings also acknowledged the 2005 payoff. The woman in the case claimed Steve Wynn had raped her. She also claimed to have become pregnant from the intercourse, whatever nature it was. The $7.5 million payment kept the case out of court, but Elaine Wynn sat on the board at the time and remembered the settlement.

The Nevada report noted that all members of the Wynn board of directors who sat on the board in 2005 no longer are associated with the company. Last year, after Matt Maddox became the new Wynn Resorts CEO, he brought onto the board four illustrious directors. It was important in the #MeToo era that 3 outside directors were female inclusions.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Report

Though it is unknown what the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s report will be, the Nevada investigation could provide the road map for regulators’ final stance. Since Wynn Resorts has rid itself of the board members whom Elaine Wynn has accused of wrongdoing (or dereliction of duty), Massachusetts regulators could put the blame on the former executives and give the current Wynn board a clean bill of health.

If so, that would mean Wynn Resorts would not have to sell the $2.4 billion Encore Boston Harbor. It would mean that the city of Everett would not be faced with the decision to veto a sell to some other casino operator, as its mayor has threatened to do.

That therefore would mean Encore Boston Harbor’s grand opening would happen in June 2019, like it long has been planned. Under those circumstances, Wynn Resorts, Encore Boston Harbor, the people of Everett, and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission all presumably would be satisfied. Whether the people of Boston or the people of Massachusetts would be is another matter.