Prominent casino operator in Massachusetts, Wynn Resorts Limited, has reportedly paid a $35 million fine in order to clear the way for its under-construction Encore Boston Harbor development to open on time from June 23.
According to a Tuesday report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the Las Vegas-headquartered firm agreed to the financial penalty at the end of last month so as to conclude a year-long investigation into a payment its former Chief Executive Officer, Steve Wynn, is alleged to have made in order to settle an accusation of sexual assault.
License in jeopardy:
The inquiry into this supposed $7.5 million payoff had been conducted by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and could have ultimately resulted in Wynn Resorts Limited losing the state casino license it won via a competitive bidding process in 2014. But, the giant operator subsequently avoided such a consequence by purportedly agreeing to hand over the cash in advance of a May 31 deadline.
As part of the settlement process, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Wynn also decided to accept a condition from the Commission that is to see an external monitor appointed to oversee operations inside the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor. The casino operator furthermore purportedly consented to paying for this three-year arrangement with the Massachusetts regulator already said to be engaged in accessing suitable candidates.
Reportedly read a statement from the MA Commission…
“The five-member [Massachusetts Gaming] Commission will now ensure compliance with the imposed requirements as it looks forward to a successful June 23 opening of Encore Boston Harbor.”
February reportedly saw Wynn agree to pay a $20 million fine to the Nevada Gaming Commission in order to settle allegations that it had similarly failed to adequately investigate multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn dating back to 2005. The 77-year-old former casino magnate has since stood down from the Nevada firm he helped to establish some 17 years ago and subsequently divested the entirety of his shareholding.
The agreement with the MA Gaming Commission had additionally encompassed a $500,000 penalty for the new Chief Executive Officer for Wynn Resorts, Matt Maddox. It explained that the operator has similarly handed over this cash despite not being in agreement with this particular portion of the regulator’s judgment.
Reportedly read a statement from Wynn…
“The board of directors disagrees with a number of the [Massachusetts Gaming] Commission’s comments and conclusions regarding Matt and believes they are not supported by the evidence. Therefore, we would support his decision to exercise his rights and appeal the fine imposed upon him and believe he would rightly prevail in his appeal. However, that appeal would delay the final conclusion of this matter and therefore we appreciate Matt’s decision to forego an appeal in order to allow closure for the company.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier reported that the 54-page deal worked out between Wynn and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission also requires the firm to employ a coach to personally instruct the 44-year-old executive in four key areas. These themes purportedly encompass internal and company-wide communication, leadership development and team building and collaboration alongside enhanced sensitivity to issues including sexual assault and harassment, implicit bias, disability, hostile work environments, human trafficking, inherent coercion and domestic violence.
In spite of these latter portions of the settlement, Wynn Resorts reportedly cited findings from Nevada Gaming Commission in contending that Maddox had implemented ‘corrective actions that (have) been impressive’ since taking over some 15 months ago.
Wynn further added…
“We believe Matt’s leadership has been, and will continue to be, essential in our transformation from a founder-led company to an innovative global corporation. Matt has created a more diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace culture; all while maintaining focus on executing the company’s business plan.”