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Steve Wynn discipline case heading back to Nevada regulators

AP Photo/John Locher, File
FILE - People cross Las Vegas Boulevard near the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada casino regulators could still impose a $500,000 fine and discipline former Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn over allegations of workplace sexual misconduct, following a state Supreme Court decision on the case.

The court ruled unanimously Thursday that a district court judge in Las Vegas acted prematurely when she sided with Wynn’s lawyers and decided he had no current casino industry ties and the state Gaming Commission lacked authority to punish him. It ordered the judge to undo her November 2020 ruling.

In a statement, the board’s enforcement arm, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said Friday it was pleased with the ruling and will determine how next to proceed.

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Wynn’s attorney, Donald Campbell, characterized the ruling as procedural, not a setback, and said he would continue to fight at the commission level. Campbell said the case could again end up before the state Supreme Court.

The dispute arose after the Gaming Commission in December 2019 began considering fining Wynn up to $500,000 and declaring him unsuitable to renew ties to gambling in Nevada.

Commissioners were told Wynn’s license had been placed on “administrative hold” following media reports in early 2018 about allegations by several women that Wynn sexually harassed or assaulted them at his hotels. Wynn denies all allegations against him.

His attorneys maintain that he wasn’t personally licensed when he resigned in February 2018 as Wynn Resorts chairman and chief executive, divested himself of company shares and quit the board of the Las Vegas corporation bearing his name. He is now 80 and lives in Florida.

The Nevada Gaming Commission in February 2019 fined Wynn Resorts $20 million for failing to investigate claims of sexual misconduct made against Wynn before he resigned.

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Massachusetts regulators fined Wynn Resorts another $35 million and the company’s top executive $500,000 for failing to disclose while applying for a license for a Boston-area casino that there had been years of sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn.

Wynn Resorts in November 2019 accepted $20 million in damages from Wynn and $21 million more from insurance carriers to settle shareholder lawsuits accusing company directors of failing to disclose misconduct allegations.

The agreements made no admission of wrongdoing.