Steve Wynn to pay a $10M fine to settle a 4-year-old complaint with Nevada gaming regulators
Disgraced gaming executive Steve Wynn will pay a fine of $10 million and will agree to never again have any involvement in Nevada’s gaming industry, according to a settlement document filed Wednesday with the Gaming Control Board.
If the Nevada Gaming Commission signs off on the settlement, possibly as soon as next week, it will end the four-year legal dispute between state gaming regulators and Wynn. The control board filed a five-count complaint against Wynn in October 2019, seeking to deem him unsuitable to hold a gaming license over allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct against female employees during his time as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.
Under the terms of the settlement, Wynn will agree to never serve as an officer or executive with a Nevada gaming company but will not be precluded from having “passive ownership” of less than 5 percent of any licensed gaming company.
Wynn signed the agreement Monday.
Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick declined to comment on the settlement agreement until the after commission makes its ruling. Hendrick and board member George Assad signed the settlement but member Brittnie Watkins was recused from the matter because a law firm where she worked before joining the board represented Wynn.
Wynn's attorney Colby Williams declined to comment.
According to Forbes, Wynn, 81, has a net worth of $3.2 billion, placing him at No. 343 in the Forbes 400.
The former gaming mogul had claimed gaming authorities no longer had jurisdiction over him since he resigned from his position with Wynn Resorts, sold his stock and relinquished his gaming license in February 2018, a few weeks after a Wall Street Journal article published an article detailing what it described as a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Wynn.
The developer of The Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio has long denied the allegations. He now resides in Florida.
According to the settlement, Wynn waived his right to a public hearing on the matter. However, should he violate any terms of the settlement, Nevada gaming regulators could move to find him unsuitable and he would face additional fines and disciplinary action.
In December 2019, the gaming commission rejected a motion by Wynn to dismiss the control board’s complaint and his attorneys filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court challenging the regulators' authority over Wynn.
A judge ruled in November 2020 that Wynn’s resignation and sale of his holdings in the company removed him from commission oversight. However, the regulators appealed the matter to the Nevada Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court’s ruling in March 2022, saying it lacked jurisdictional standing because the gaming commission needed to first rule on the control board’s request.
In February 2019, Wynn Resorts paid a $20 million fine – the largest in Nevada history – to the gaming commission to settle a 10-count complaint that detailed years of failure by former company executives to “report and/or investigate” numerous allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct by Wynn.
Wynn Resorts underwent a makeover following Wynn’s departure, including a remake of the company’s board, new leadership in the executive suite and new policies on sexual harassment prevention. A compliance committee was also created with numerous procedures in place to prevent any harassment allegation from going unchecked.
In April 2019, gaming regulators in Massachusetts, where Wynn Resorts operates Encore Boston Harbor, slapped a $35 million fine on the company over the misconduct claims. Wynn Resorts paid the fine.
Updated at 10:57 a.m. on 7/19/2023 to include additional background.
Editor’s Note: Campbell & Williams, the law firm representing Steve Wynn, has in the past provided The Nevada Independent with pro bono legal services and advice.
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