The state Gaming Control Board has moved to prevent Steve Wynn from ever again being licensed by the state.
The Nevada Independent reports the board filed a complaint against Wynn alleging sexual harassment of several female employees.
It’s the latest in the allegations levied against him almost two years ago, which Wynn has denied.
“It reminds me of the complaints filed against people who became notorious. Guys who wound up in the Black Book get hit with these allegations of being bad for the character of the business. If it were just a gaming industry subordinate it would be one thing but this is Steve Wynn, once the king of kings of Las Vegas, one of the most innovative characters in the history of the community,” State of Nevada contributor John L Smith said.
Smith said it is "astounding" and "still kind of jaw-dropping" to see some of the allegations against one of the key figures in the legal gaming industry spelled out in legalese.
One of the accusations in the complaint is from a cocktail waitress who said Wynn sexually assaulted her. It is an allegation - like all the others - Wynn has denied.
Smith said there is more to the story than just Wynn's reputation.
“There is clearly a bigger issue here at stake. The industry is very sensitive to its reputation because of its past, because of the notoriety of gaming in the culture,” he said.
Nevada gaming regulators are focused on that reputation, Smith said, which is clear in some of the sharp words used in the complaint. Wynn is said to have brought "discredit" to the state and is labeled as 'unsuitable' to be associated with the gaming industry as a whole.
“Remember, this isn’t a church, this isn’t a synagogue, this is a gaming establishment and your character is in question there then that key employee status is going to go out the window," he said.
Gaming licenses are given out to 'key employees,' which clearly Wynn was for most of his life, but to get a license, applicants go through intense scrutiny.
“Once you’re in the industry, at that high level, casinos are very profitable, but they also have a reputation to uphold,” Smith said.
Smith does believe that Wynn will respond to the control board's complaint, quipping - what does he have to lose?
“You’ve got a guy who was at the top of the game, top of the world really, as a multibillionaire and this is quite a tumble.”
GLOBAL GAMING EXPO
“This is a chance for the gaming industry to really preen. Those peacock feathers are out this week. The latest in technology is on display. The industry stars are in town to talk about their companies and trends in the industry itself,” Smith said.
Smith said the conference is very well attended by gaming industry people from across the world. He noted there is a lot more to the industry than what we see on the casino floor.
“You’ve got all of these different levels that don’t necessarily get the headlines in the daily business section," he said.
Smith thinks the big theme of this year's conference will be sports betting.
“There is no question that people in the industry are still buzzing about the expansion of sports betting in America. I think it’s a huge, huge deal as you start to see other states start to loosen their grip on their anti-sports betting stance,” he said.
John L. Smith, KNPR Contributor
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