Artists rendering of the Wynn Boston Harbor, a commercial gaming facility in Revere, Massachusetts. Image: Wynn Resorts
Regulation

Massachusetts casino under investigation due to sexual misconduct


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission continues to investigate a commercial casino after The Wall Street Journal reported on numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against developer Steve Wynn, who trashed tribes as he sought approval for his project.

The commission discussed the allegations at a public meeting in Boston on Wednesday. According to news reports, regulators are upset because Wynn's company did not disclose a $7.5 million sexual misconduct settlement during the licensing process for the Wynn Boston Harbor.

“The people of Massachusetts have a right to know what the hell happened here,” said Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the panel, The Boston Globe reported.

The $2.4 billion casino is already under construction in Revere, a city near Boston. It's due for completion in 2019 but Wynn's company faces the loss of its license, according to The New York Times. Fines are also possible, the paper reported.

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. 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:
Misconduct Allegations Against Steve Wynn Put Big Casino Project at Risk (The Wall Street Journal January 31, 2018)
Steve Wynn settlement was actively concealed from Massachusetts Gaming Commission, investigators say (MassLive.Com January 31, 2018)
Stephen Wynn to Be Investigated by Massachusetts Casino Regulators (The New York Times January 31, 2018)
Gaming panel will review whether Wynn is suitable to keep license (The Boston Globe February 1, 2018)

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Massachusetts casino under review after report of top executive's sexual misconduct (January 29, 2018)