As the Walls Close in on Wynn, His Departure from Wynn Resorts May be the Only Way to Hang onto Casino License

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported on an alleged decades-long spree of sexual abuse and assault by casino magnate Steve Wynn. Since then, things have gotten decidedly worse. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched an investigation into the “suitability” of Wynn Resorts to hold a state casino license, Nevada’s gaming board did the same, and several institutions have dumped Wynn in one way or another. His departure—voluntary or not—from Wynn Resorts seems imminent.

Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino under construction in Everett.

 

The WSJ report is damning. The article said dozens of Wynn company workers “told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn,” including exposing himself and pressuring employees for sex.

One particular issue seems to be the most problematic. Wynn has admitted he made a $7.5 million settlement payment to a manicurist who said Wynn forced her into sex. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is not happy with the fact Wynn Resorts took pains to conceal the payment from state regulators when the commission was assessing the “suitability” of the company to hold the highly coveted Eastern Massachusetts casino license.

 

 

From there, things went downhill for Wynn. The board of directors of Wynn Resorts has started its own review as have gaming authorities in Nevada. The University of Pennsylvania unceremoniously revoked  the honorary degree it bestowed on its alumnus Wynn (putting him in the company of Bill Cosby). The University of Iowa is removing Wynn’s name from its Institute of Vision Research (Wynn made a $25 million donation to it).

 

The now-renamed Steve Wynn Institute for Vision Research at the University of Iowa.

 

Meanwhile, US Rep. Michael Capuano is moving to make sure the jobs promised by the casino won’t be at risk because Wynn is an alleged creeper. “If they pull the license, it’ll be a big question and they’ll have to make a determination, what to do with a building that’s half-built and what to do with all the people that are working there,” Capuano told Boston Herald Radio. “I know that’ll be a factor in the decision-making too, the state is not blind to that aspect of it.”

Added Capuano, “If they’re going to yank the license, for good reason, that’s fine, they can’t then just sit there and have an empty building for the next 10 years while they figure out what to do…That doesn’t mean Mr. Wynn has to be the one who does it — it means it has to be taken into consideration.” The Everett casino site is in Capuano’s district. He is being challenged this year by fellow Democrat Ayanna Pressley.