The Massachusetts Gaming Commission agreed on Monday to remove Steve Wynn’s name from the license that Wynn Resorts was awarded for the $2.4bn (£1.8bn) resort casino that is currently under construction in Everett.
In February, Steve Wynn resigned from his position as chairman of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations that first came to light in January. In April, Wynn Resorts attorneys asked the gaming commission to remove Steve Wynn as a qualifier on the license for the casino in Everett, Massachusetts, because he no longer has a financial interest in the company or a business relationship with it. He is also no longer associated with the Everett casino project. The commission agreed to remove Wynn’s name from the license.
Contingency added in decision
The gaming commission added a contingency in their written decision: Wynn must not exercise his right to vote during the May 16 annual meeting of shareholders for his name to be removed from the license. Wynn has already divested his Wynn Resorts stock but is still entitled to vote because he had stock in March.
In its decision, the panel said: “The commission rejects the characterization by Mr. Wynn’s legal counsel that he is nothing more than an ordinary private citizen of the state of Nevada vis-a-vis Wynn Resorts. There is, however, substantial evidence that the relationship between Mr. Wynn and Wynn Resorts has been terminated in a meaningful way such that Mr. Wynn no longer falls with the definition of qualifier at the conclusion of the upcoming annual shareholders meeting.”
The gaming regulators also mentioned a new policy implemented by Wynn Resorts that requires any communication in the future between Mr. Wynn and directors or officers of Wynn Resorts be reported to the legal counsel of the Massachusetts subsidiary. This information will also need to be passed on to the commission.
With the decision involving the Everett project, the commission will still continue with a separate investigation into Wynn Resorts and how they handled the sexual misconduct allegations involving Mr. Wynn. The outcome of this investigation could determine if the company will be able to maintain its gaming license for the Boston-area casino, which was awarded in 2014. A review of the company began in January, soon after the allegations were made public.
Steve Wynn has had a long career in the gambling industry, dating back to 1967, when he moved to Las Vegas and began renovation and expansion of the Golden Nugget. He later invested in several other casinos and upgraded his empire with the construction of high-end gaming venues like The Mirage, The Bellagio, and the Wynn Las Vegas.
This past January, the Wall Street Journal reported the sexual misconduct allegations involving Steve Wynn and employees of Wynn Resorts, which started an avalanche of changes for Wynn. In February, Wynn announced his resignation as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts, blaming negative publicity for creating the situation.
Because of the ongoing investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, it seems that Wynn Resorts wants to remove all ties with Steve. The company recently announced a rebranding of the casino name, deciding to call the property Encore Boston Harbor instead of by its former title, Wynn Boston Harbor. Now the company can disassociate from Steve Wynn even further with the removal of his name from the Everett project gaming license.