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Gaming regulators move to ban ‘unsuitable’ casino mogul Steve Wynn

Although he denied all accusations against him, the force behind such iconic resorts such as the Mirage and Treasure Island resigned as Wynn Resorts’ CEO in February 2018 and later sold his stake in the company. He stepped down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and saw business deals collapse. His alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, revoked his honorary degree and stripped his name from a campus plaza and scholarship.

Nevada gaming regulators hit Wynn Resorts with a record $US20 million ($29.6 million) fine in February for failing to investigate the allegations. In the settlement, the company acknowledged that executives had been aware of the accusations against Wynn, including multiple instances which ended in multimillion-dollar payouts for the company. One involved a manicurist who said Wynn had raped her and gotten her pregnant. She was paid a $US7.5 million settlement in 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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In its own seven-month investigation into Wynn’s conduct, the Nevada Gaming Control Board uncovered multiple instances of female employees who were subjected to unwanted sexual contact by Wynn, the board said in the complaint.

“The evidence from the investigation demonstrates a pattern of Mr Wynn recklessly engaging in sexual conduct with subordinate employees, which even if it was consensual as maintained by Mr Wynn, is oblivious to the significant power imbalance between the CEO of a major gaming company and subordinate employees dependent on Mr Wynn’s approval for continued employment,” the complaint reads.

The son of a debt-laden bingo parlour operator, Wynn took over his father’s business shortly after graduating college and began investing in casinos. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Wynn helped architect a new era of Las Vegas glitz through luxury casinos such as the Bellagio, reestablishing the city as a destination for the ultra wealthy.

“Steve Wynn is an industry giant,” Boone Wayson, non-executive¬†director of the board, said in the statement announcing Wynn’s resignation. “He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today.”

Wynn co-founded Wynn Resorts – a key player in Nevada’s $US67.6 billion gaming industry – in 2002 with his former wife. The company operates six properties in the United States and China and brought in more than $US6.7 billion in revenue last year. Its shares were up more than 2.2 per cent on Tuesday, to nearly $US115 a share.

The Washington Post

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