With Wynn Gone From Wynn, Can The Casino Company Still Win?

Written By Jessica Welman on February 9, 2018
Wynn and Encore casinos in Las Vegas

For years, people used Wynn and Steve Wynn synonymously. The casino was the man. The man was the casino.

That all changed thanks to a Wall Steet Journal story (paywall) with explosive accusations of sexual harassment against the casino mogul.

The story came out on Jan. 27. At first, Wynn stood his ground. He claimed the accusations were false. However, as more information came to the fore, he resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts on Feb. 6. Additionally, Wynn stepped down from the same post at Wynn Macau and removed himself as finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

Mark Maddux will take over as the new CEO of Wynn Resorts.

Now that the man who defined the brand is gone, there are several questions about the future of Wynn Resorts. Some are relatively small, like whether or not its announced Las Vegas expansion will continue.

Others carry much larger consequences. Namely, whether or not the company could lose its gaming license in both Nevada and Massachusetts.

Wynn’s future seemed bright

The accusations against Wynn came just days after an earnings call jam-packed with good news for the company. The Asian casinos continue to rake in big bucks. So much so the company even bought an additional plot of land on the Las Vegas Strip for a second new project, Wynn West.

In hindsight, these announcements likely came with knowledge the WSJ story was coming. Even buoyed by good news, the company stock plummeted from a high of $200.6 to a low of $163.5.

As the stock sank, calls for Wynn’s resignation came in. The stock value was not the only thing in jeopardy either. Both Nevada and Massachusetts Gaming Control Boards announced they would investigate whether or not the company should keep its gaming license. Wynn currently operates two Nevada casinos. It has a billion-dollar property in development in Boston, MA.

Does resignation keep the casinos in the clear?

Now that Wynn is no longer on the board of the casino company, the situation is not solved though. Both gaming commissions intend to continue investigations into the alleged incidents.

New NGCB Chairwoman Becky Harris conducted her first meeting in the post without bringing up Wynn’s name once. However, upon concluding the meeting, she assured the Las Vegas Review-Journal the investigation would continue despite Wynn’s resignation.

In its story, the Review-Journal also said Massachusetts gaming officials planned to move forward with their investigation as well.

In addition to the harassment claims, the groups are also looking into a questionable settlement payment of $7.5 million Mr. Wynn paid to a woman. More specifically, the means by which Wynn possibly used a shell company to cover up the funds.

Even with Wynn stepping down, the Nevada properties are still at risk for fines and citations.

Could someone buy up Wynn?

With the visionary Wynn no longer involved one could argue it is time for another company to swoop in and acquire it. One would be incorrect according to MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren though.

On Friday, Murren gave an interview from Tokyo discussing the comapny’s moves in Asia. When asked about the possibility of a megadeal acquisition of the Wynn brand, he was skeptical.

“It’s a very large organization.It would be difficult to believe some entity is going to have the financial wherewithal to make a serious bid for them,” he explained.

Photo by Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

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Jessica Welman Avatar
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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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