The gaming regulator in Massachusetts in the United States has approved an agreement with former casino magnate Steve Wynn (pictured) that will end his legal efforts to block publication of a report on claims he engaged in sexual misconduct toward women employees.
The Associated Press news agency reported on Thursday that a settlement is pending and its terms would include the report’s release. The releasing of the report would also allow regulators to consider U.S.-based Wynn Resorts Ltd’s casino licence to operate in Massachusetts. Mr Wynn founded the firm.
An inquiry by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in the northeastern United States was opened last year after media reports of “sexual misconduct” were published by the Wall Street Journal newspaper.
The regulator considered the allegations in the context of the US$2.5-billion Encore Boston Harbour project. The resort is due to open in the middle of this year.
The regulator’s probe led to a lawsuit by Mr Wynn. The deal made on Wednesday in Boston “eliminates the uncertainty of protracted litigation”, the regulator’s spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said in a statement.
The regulator said in a written statement it would conclude an agreement with Mr Wynn to end his attempt to get a court in the U.S. state of Nevada to block the release of the report’s findings, which had been kept secret.
Thursday’s Associated Press report said the settlement would now allow the regulator to determine whether Wynn Resorts – a firm that Mr Wynn headed until February 2018 – was fit to hold a casino licence in Massachusetts.
The Wall Street Journal published allegations by a manicurist that allegedly received a US$7.5-million settlement from Mr Wynn after complaining he ordered her to have sex with him in 2005. Mr Wynn has denied assaulting any woman.
He nonetheless resigned as chairman and chief executive in February last year. Sweeping changes followed regarding the membership of the firm’s board.
Wynn Resorts is the parent company of Macau-based casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd. The upheaval was characterised as “healthy” change by Hong Kong businessman Allan Zeman, Mr Wynn’s replacement – albeit on a non-executive basis – as Wynn Macau’s chairman.
Mr Wynn’s departure led to him disposing of his shareholding in Wynn Resorts. In March that year, casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd – a direct competitor in the Macau market – bought a 5-percent stake in Wynn Resorts.
Macau’s regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, said that deal did not breach local laws. It was nonetheless seen by some analysts to have wider implications, including the possibility that the shareholding would give Galaxy Entertainment an inside run in any deal to buy out Wynn Macau and control its two Macau casino resorts.
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”For the [Macau] government, I think if they can be sympathetic to the gaming industry – to the contribution that we have made for the community and the society – that will be good”
Vice-chairman at Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group