Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission picked on Thursday an interim leader, one day after chairman Stephen Crosby resigned over claims of bias in that body’s ongoing investigation into casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Commissioner Gayle Cameron was chosen by the three other members of the casino regulatory panel. Ms Cameron, a former deputy superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, was first appointed to serve on the gaming commission in 2012. According to the commission’s website, during her time in the New Jersey police, she led its investigations branch, which has – among other responsibilities – oversight of casino regulatory matters.
Mr Crosby stepped down Wednesday after being accused of favouritism toward Wynn Resorts. The company is currently developing a casino property (pictured in an artist’s rendering) in Boston, Massachusetts. The US$2.5-billion project is scheduled to open in 2019.
The leadership change comes after Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment – a rival bidder for the licence that Wynn Resorts won – accused Mr Crosby of prejudging the Wynn Resorts inquiry in public statements he made to reporters earlier this month.
A lawyer acting on behalf of Steve Wynn, former chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts, also addressed a letter to Mr Crosby demanding a retraction of what it termed “false and defamatory statements” Mr Crosby made regarding the casino entrepreneur.
The Massachusetts regulator is looking into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Mr Wynn by former Wynn Resorts employees. The claims were first reported in a Wall Street Journal article published in January. Mr Wynn has denied the allegations.
Mr Crosby, who has chaired the commission since its formation in 2012, rejected the bias claims but said he didn’t want to compromise the investigation’s integrity.
“There has never been a shred of truth or accuracy to any charge of bias, favouritism, corrupt practice, ethics violations, or prejudgment in my execution of this job,” said Mr Crosby in a letter on Wednesday.
He added: “I simply cannot let my involvement in these critical deliberations be used by others to hamper the commission’s ability to do its work, or to undermine the confidence of the public in that work.”
The commission’s investigation into the suitability of Wynn Resorts to hold a gaming licence in Massachusetts is nearing its conclusion according to previous statements by the body. It had been expected that the regulator would discuss the Wynn Resorts hearing process at its board meeting on Thursday.
The Wynn name was dropped in May from the Everett project, which is now known as Encore Boston Harbor.
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”We need to have stability – especially in terms of legislation, so that it doesn’t change very often. We have several discussions with the authorities and they understand that stability is a must for the development of this industry”
COO for Russian operations at casino investor Summit Ascent