Construction continues on the Wynn Boston Harbor, a commercial gaming facility in Massachusetts. Photo: Wynn Resorts
Regulation

Massachusetts casino under review after report of top executive's sexual misconduct


A commercial casino in Massachusetts is being reviewed after The Wall Street Journal reported on numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against mogul and Republican donor Steve Wynn.

The Wynn Boston Harbor in Revere is due for completion in 2019. But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is taking another look at the $2 billion project in light of The Journal's report, which was based on dozens of sources, including subordinates who said they felt pressured into sexual activity with Wynn.

“The Commission is now aware of and is taking very seriously the troubling allegations detailed in The Wall Street Journal article,” a spokesperson for the regulatory body said in a statement to the paper. “The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process.”

Wynn's company won the license for the casino in the eastern region of the state after he criticized the Mohegan Tribe, a rival bidder. He claimed that the tribe was going to encourage big spenders to gamble at its existing casino in neighboring Connecticut.

“What do you think they’re going to do when it comes time to move a big customer, pay 25 percent to Massachusetts, or shovel them off to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut where they pay nothing," Wynn told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Bloomberg News reported in January 2014. He was referring to the 25 percent tax rate imposed on commercial casinos in Massachusetts, glossing over the fact that the tribe shares 25 percent of slot machine revenues under its Class III gaming compact in Connecticut.

Wynn even tried to lower his tax rate, citing competition from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. He said he shouldn't be forced to pay any more than the tribe, whose compact includes revenue sharing rates between 15 percent and 21 percent.

“A Wampanoag casino in Taunton would be a mere 40 miles from our proposed investment in Everett and a real alternative for our patrons,” Wynn's company told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission stated, The Boston Herald reported in January 2014. “All (resort casinos) should operate pursuant to the same economic terms with the same tax applied to all operators of the same type of facility."

Wynn's argument failed to differentiate his project, authorized under state law, from the tribe's. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars states from taxing tribal process, although tribes across the nation have entered into compacts to share a portion of their revenues with states.

Wynn, whose net worth is reported to be $3.5 billion, has denied the allegations against him. Still, he resigned his position as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee as GOP politicians distanced him, and his money, from their campaigns.

Read More on the Story:
Massachusetts Gambling Regulator Opens Review of Wynn Resorts (The Wall Street Journal January 26, 2018)
Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn (The Wall Street Journal January 27, 2018)
Stephen Wynn, Casino Mogul, Accused of Decades of Sexual Misconduct (The New York Times January 26, 2018)
Massachusetts Gaming Commission to review Wynn project (CBS News January 27, 2018)
Analysts: Safe bet Everett casino to open – with or without embattled founder Steve Wynn (The Boston Herald January 28, 2018)