Casino heavyweight Steve Wynn is currently being investigated by gambling regulators of Nevada due to sexual misconduct allegations.
For the past year or so, women as well as men, are becoming more vocal about allegations of sexual abuse or harassment. The entertainment industry has been hit hard with allegations against several individuals including the Harvey Weinstein scandal that has been prevalent in the media. After celebrities began to be accused of such behavior, politicians were next. It seems women are becoming more open with discussing what happened with former employers or encounters with individuals and now the allegations have spread into the gaming industry. Steve Wynn, the casino mogul behind the Wynn brand, has been accused of sexual misconduct and now faces an investigation by gambling regulators of Nevada.
Wynn Under Investigation
Late yesterday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board announced they are investigating the sexual misconduct claims against Steve Wynn. The board stated they opened an investigation after completing a review and has yet to provide any other details on the matter. Beyond the statement provided, no other comments have been made.
In the statement, Becky Harris, the Board Chairwoman, stated that after the review the board decided to conduct an investigation into the allegations involving Steve Wynn. According to Harris, the investigation will be completed in a ‘thorough and judicious manner’.
In speaking with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, A.G. Burnett, the former chairman of the Gaming Control Board, Mr. Burnett stated that Wynn could face discipline from regulators including a large fine or the revocation of this gaming license. The board has the power to obtain information from witnesses and investigators have the ability to ask questions in a broad manner. According to Burnett, the investigators can go to employees, from the top the bottom of the company to try and determine what exactly happened.
Denying the Allegations
Since the allegations have come to light, Wynn has continued to deny any inappropriate behavior. Several women have come forward stating that Wynn either assaulted them or harassed them. One case against the casino mogul seeks to obtain $7.5 million. Wynn has stated that the idea of him ever assaulting a woman is ‘preposterous’.
The allegations have already had a negative effect on Wynn’s company, Wynn Resorts. After the allegations were revealed, stock of Wynn Resorts was down 19%. By yesterday, stock was back up by close to 5%.
Wynn Resorts Board of Directors have stated that they have a committee comprised of independent directors that will investigate the allegations. The head of the committee is Patricia Mulroy, a former Nevada Gaming Commission member and current board member of Wynn Resorts. Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, has stated he is disturbed, saddened and deeply troubled by the allegations.
Wynn not only focused on the gaming industry but also played a role in republican politics. He was the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, a role he no longer holds after resigning over the weekend. Within the past four years, Wynn has provided close to $2.4 million to GOP candidates and organizations associated with the party. Some Congress members of the republican party who received money from Wynn have plans to donate the contributions to charity instead of using them.
The union working with casino workers in Las Vegas are also looking into the allegations. Plans have been created to strengthen sexual harassment language in contracts during negotiations next month with gaming operators. The union also plans to ask for ‘panic buttons’ to be given to housekeepers.
For now, Wynn continues to deny claims. It will be interesting to see what the Board finds and what, if any, discipline will be handed down based on findings.