Wynn Resorts Ex-CEO Agrees to $10 Million Settlement Amid Sex Abuse Allegations
On Friday, July 28, 2023, casino tycoon Steve Wynn agreed to exit the Nevada gambling industry and pay the state $10 million to settle a regulatory complaint filed against him after his employees accused him of a pattern of sexual misconduct.
In October 2019, the Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a complaint against Wynn with the Nevada Gaming Commission. The complaint accused Wynn of sexually harassing employees and covering up misconduct through confidential settlements. According to the Board, “Mr. Wynn has repeatedly violated Nevada’s gaming statutes and regulations, bringing discredit upon the state of Nevada and its gaming industry.”
On Friday, the Nevada Gaming Commission accepted a $10 million settlement to resolve the allegations in the complaint. Under the terms of the agreement, Wynn “neither admitted nor denied allegations in the complaint, but agreed to pay a $10 million fine to Nevada’s general fund within three business days.” Wynn also agreed that he would no longer have any “direct or indirect involvement in the Nevada gaming industry or with those individuals and entities subject to Nevada’s gaming regulation.”
The settlement marks the end of five years of litigation and multiple investigations into Wynn’s misconduct as the former chairman and CEO of Las Vegas company Wynn Resorts, Ltd.
In January 2018, several of Wynn’s employees came forward to report a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct, including reports that Wynn sexually assault former employees. An investigation led by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Wynn had paid settlements up to $7.5 million to abuse victims to keep them quiet.
A month later, shareholders sued the board of Wynn Resorts, alleging that the board knew for years that Wynn had been accused of sexual misconduct and failed to investigate internal reports. The shareholders claimed that the board breached its fiduciary duty to investors by not investigating the accusations and by continuing to recommend Wynn’s leadership to investors. The lawsuit settled in 2019, with Wynn agreeing to pay $20 million to Wynn Resorts.
The Wall Street Journal Report also led to investigations into Wynn Resorts by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Following a determination that numerous board members and executives were made aware of abuse allegations against Wynn and that the company failed to act, investigators fined Wynn Resorts for $20 million in late 2018.
Wynn’s activities also caught the attention of federal regulators. In May last year, the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Wynn. The complaint accused Wynn of working as an agent on behalf of the People’s Republic of China and “engag[ing] in political activities on their behalf in the United States.” The Department of Justice sought an order requiring that Wynn register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg dismissed the lawsuit in October last year, holding that the Foreign Agents Registration Act did not require Wynn’s registration.
In March this year, a Nevada federal certified an investor class action against Wynn Resorts. The investors brought a securities fraud lawsuit, claiming that Wynn Resorts concealed Wynn’s sexual misconduct and caused the company’s stock price to drop. In granting the class’s certification, U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon wrote that the case “continues to demonstrate that corporate integrity and accountability are important issues to investors.” The action is still pending.