Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to pay $10M to end fight over claims of sexual misconduct
Jul 26, 2023, 9:07 PM
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino mogul Steve Wynn’s long legal fight with Nevada gambling regulators over claims of workplace sexual misconduct is expected to end Thursday with a settlement calling for him to pay a $10 million fine and cut virtually all ties to the industry he helped shape in Las Vegas.
The Nevada Gaming Commission was scheduled to meet in the state capital of Carson City and accept a deal in which the 81-year-old Wynn admits no wrongdoing.
The seven-page agreement that Wynn signed July 17 with members of the investigatory Nevada Gaming Control Board said he was accused of “failure to exercise discretion and sound judgment to prevent incidents that have reflected negatively on the reputation of the gaming industry and the State of Nevada.”
Wynn, who now lives in Florida, will not attend the hearing, his attorney Colby Williams said Wednesday. Williams declined to comment about the proceedings until they are complete.
Under terms of the deal, Wynn will be allowed to maintain “passive ownership” of up to 5% of “a publicly traded corporation” registered with the Gaming Commission, but no “control, authority, advisory role or decision making power.” Violating the pact could lead to a finding of “unsuitability” for association with Nevada casinos and an additional fine, it said.
“Unsuitability” would be extraordinary for a man widely credited with starting a boom that grew Las Vegas Strip properties from gambling halls with all-you-can-eat buffets and showrooms into huge destination resorts featuring celebrity-chef restaurants, massive gambling floors, nightclubs and huge stage productions.
Wynn developed luxury properties including the Golden Nugget, Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas; Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi; Wynn Macau in the Chinese gambling enclave; and Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts.
He resigned after the Wall Street Journal published allegations by several women that he sexually harassed or assaulted them at his hotels. He divested company shares, quit the corporate board and resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Wynn has consistently denied sexual misconduct allegations in multiple courts.
In the Gaming Commission case, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against him in March 2022, finding that a state judge in Las Vegas acted prematurely in late 2020 when she sided with Wynn’s lawyers and decided the state lacked authority to punish him.
Wynn’s attorneys, including Donald Campbell, argued that the Gaming Control Board and its oversight panel, the Nevada Gaming Commission, no longer had legal jurisdiction over Wynn.
State regulators launched their investigation after the allegations against Wynn emerged. The board said Wynn’s license had been placed on administrative hold and the commission moved in October 2019 to discipline or fine Wynn.
At a December 2019 hearing, which Wynn did not attend, commissioners began considering a fine of up to $500,000 and a declaration that Wynn was unsuitable to renew ties to gambling in Nevada.
Months earlier, the commission fined his former company, Wynn Resorts Ltd., a record $20 million for failing to investigate sexual misconduct claims made against Wynn.
Massachusetts gambling regulators fined Wynn Resorts Ltd. another $35 million and new company chief executive Matthew Maddox $500,000 for failing to disclose while applying for a license for the Boston-area resort that there had been sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn.
Wynn Resorts agreed in November 2019 to accept $20 million in damages from Wynn and $21 million more from insurance carriers on behalf of current and former employees of Wynn Resorts to settle shareholder lawsuits accusing company directors of failing to disclose misconduct allegations.
The agreements included no admission of wrongdoing.