Steve Wynn, right, speaks at the dedication of the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research at the University of Illinois in October 2013. The University of Illinois has removed Wynn's name from the institute in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Photo: UI Center for Advancement
Openings & Closings | Public Relations | Regulation

Billionaire casino mogul who trashed tribes steps down from post

Steve Wynn, the billionaire gaming mogul who trashed tribes as he pursued a commercial casino in Massachusetts, stepped down from his namesake company after The Wall Street Journal reported on numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Wynn's resignation, however, won't affect an ongoing investigation of the Wynn Boston Harbor. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is reviewing the $2.4 billion project due to the allegations, which include a $7.5 million sexual misconduct settlement that was executed during the licensing process for the casino.

"In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity," Wynn said in a statement. "As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles."

Wynn Boston Harbor is under construction in Everett, a city near Boston. It's due for completion in 2019 but the company faces the loss of its license as part of the investigation. Fines are also possible.

Wynn Resorts won the license for the casino in the eastern region of the state after Wynn 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:
Steve Wynn Steps Down as Wynn Resorts CEO (The Wall Street Journal February 7, 2018)
Steve Wynn resigns as chair and CEO of Wynn resorts (The Boston Globe February 7, 2018)
Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigns as CEO of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations (The Associated Press February 7, 2018)
Embattelledd Steve Wynn resigns as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts (The Las Vegas Review-Journal February 6, 2018)
Steve Wynn Resigns From Company Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations (The New York Times February 6, 2018)

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Massachusetts casino under investigation due to sexual misconduct (February 1, 2018)
Massachusetts casino under review after report of top executive's sexual misconduct (January 29, 2018)