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Mass. Gaming Commission Launches Investigation Into Wynn After Wall Street Journal Report

Casino mogul Steve Wynn speaks with the press about his casino project, Wynn Boston Harbor, in Everett. (Jesse Costa/WBUR/file)MoreCloseclosemore
Casino mogul Steve Wynn speaks with the press about his casino project, Wynn Boston Harbor, in Everett. (Jesse Costa/WBUR/file)

The state gambling commission has launched a review, and the Everett City Council will hold an emergency meeting, after a blistering Wall Street Journal report detailed sexual abuse allegations against Steve Wynn, who's building a casino in Everett.

"The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process," said Elaine Driscoll, director of communications for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), in a statement.

The allegations span decades and come from dozens of current and former female employees, according to the Journal's report. In a statement, Wynn called the allegations "preposterous."

The Wynn Corporation began construction of its $2.4 billion casino in Everett in 2016, with plans to put the Wynn name in bright lights, 27 stories up. The casino is on track to be completed in June 2019.

The Everett City Council will hold an emergency meeting for an as-yet-undetermined time, said City Councilor Michael McLaughlin. He said he doesn't want to take any action until the MGC completes its investigation.

"At that point, if it is deemed necessary that we make significant changes, I will support whatever needs to be done to ensure that gaming in the state is successful," he said.

Professor Richard McGowan of Boston College, whose work has focused on gambling and tobacco, among other topics, told WBUR's Morning Edition the license to open the casino was originally granted to the Wynn Corporation — not Wynn himself — which could be an issue in the commission's investigation.

Wynn's background had been originally investigated by the MGC when he first sought the license, said McGowan, but it was mostly focused on one thing.

"The primary thing they were looking at in those days was much more about Mafia connections, underworld connections," he said, not character overall.

"[The MGC] should have looked at other issues, but clearly they did not," said McGowan.

Wynn stepped down from his post as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee on Saturday.

With additional reporting from WBUR's Simón Rios and Deborah Becker

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Meghan B. Kelly Twitter Digital Producer
Meghan is a digital producer for WBUR.

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