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Gaming Commission Says Wynn Is Still 'Suitable' To Keep Everett Casino License

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The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett as seen from Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett as seen from Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Despite finding that Wynn Resorts concealed alleged sexual misconduct by its founder, Massachusetts gambling regulators decided Tuesday that the company remains "suitable" to hold its lucrative Boston-area casino license.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did, however, slap a $35 million fine on Wynn Resorts. That's $15 million more than what Nevada regulators handed down earlier this year for essentially the same violations.

The five-person Massachusetts commission also imposed additional conditions on Wynn Resorts, including paying for an independent monitor to conduct a review of all policies and organizational changes adopted by the company as directed by regulators.

And Wynn CEO Matthew Maddox was personally fined $500,000 for his "clear failure to require an investigation about a specific spa employee complaint brought to his attention," the commission said in a statement.

A statement from the company Tuesday evening said it is "in the process of reviewing [the] decision and considering the full range of our next steps."

The suitability ruling comes nearly a month after commission investigators concluded that Wynn Resorts mishandled sexual misconduct allegations against founder Steve Wynn, and then concealed the accusations from regulators.

The investigative findings came at the beginning of a unique three-day hearing to determine whether the company remained fit to hold the coveted license.

In its decision Tuesday, the commission wrote:

Specifically, the corporate culture of the founder-led organization led to the disparate treatment of the CEO in ways that left the most vulnerable at grave risk. While the Company has made great strides in altering that system, this Commission remains concerned by the past failures and deficiencies.

The commission deemed Maddox himself suitable but also ordered him to receive leadership and human resources training. And all new Wynn employees must be trained in harassment and discrimination prevention.

Wynn Resorts did not contest the gaming commission's report earlier this month, instead stressing that the company is contrite and has changed since the allegations surfaced, and said that "any employee who was aware of allegations of sexual assault against [Wynn] and did not investigate or report it is no longer with the company."

The company had told gaming commissioners last year that it did not disclose a $7.5 million settlement in one case of alleged sexual misconduct against Wynn on advice of its counsel.

Steve Wynn, 77, has denied all allegations against him. He resigned from the company he founded in February 2018.

Wynn Resorts' $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor complex is slated to open in June, and is expected to employ thousands of people.

In a statement, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said: "I know 5,000 people who can't wait to get to work, and with this resolution, they now can."

With additional reporting from WBUR's Steve Brown, whose Morning Edition conversation on the commission's ruling can be heard atop this post.

This article was originally published on April 30, 2019.

This segment aired on May 1, 2019.

Earlier Coverage:

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.


Lisa Creamer Managing Editor, Digital
Lisa Creamer is WBUR's managing editor for digital news.



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