Hopes that Wynn Resorts had fully moved on from the Steve Wynn era were dashed last Wednesday when the scandal-plagued former chairman and CEO sued the company that he had co-founded. Steve Wynn also sued the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Steve Wynn’s objective is to block the public release of a Massachusetts Gaming Commission report that, among other things, contains information about his past lawsuit against Universal Entertainment founder Kazuo Okada. Wynn alleges that some of the information in the report is protected under his attorney-client privilege.
Wynn Resorts is building a $2.6 billion IR in Everett, Massachusetts, which was to be named Wynn Boston Harbor, but since May is called Encore Boston Harbor. It is scheduled to open in about eight months, potentially adding competition in the US northeast to the long-established Foxwoods and Mohegan resorts in Connecticut, as well as to the new MGM Springfield, also in Massachusetts.
The Wynn Resorts project was nearly derailed by the multiple sexual assault allegations against Steve Wynn that were revealed in January by the US news media. Wynn soon resigned from the company that he had co-founded and then gave up all of his financial interest in the firm, which still bears his name.
While Steve Wynn’s departure allowed Wynn Resorts to move forward with constructing its Massachusetts IR, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission investigation has continued and it is close to releasing its public report. This disclosure is what Steve Wynn is now suing to prevent.
The stakes are high for Wynn Resorts. Massachusetts Gaming Commission approval is needed to open Encore Boston Harbor, and further entanglement with Steve Wynn could put the whole project in serious jeopardy.
Should the Massachusetts regulator find that Wynn Resorts is unfit to hold a gambling license in the state, this would undoubtedly have a profound impact on the company’s prospects in Asia, including both Macau, where all operators are facing license renewal, as well as Japan, which is expected to take a dim view of any scandals surrounding foreign IR operators.