The plot thickens for regulators considering the future of Wynn Resort’s license for its downtown-Boston casino.
Wynn Resorts’ efforts to present as clean a corporate profile as possible for the purpose of successfully winning the license for Massachusetts’ first Boston-area casino may have included the forced resignation in 2013 of a high-ranking Wynn exec, Eric Schorr, who was linked to illegal online sports-betting activities, according to a report recently published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The executive, former Wynn Resorts chief operating officer Marc Schorr, resigned suddenly in March of 2013 after 33 years of service with the company. The official announcement offered by Wynn at the time declared that Schorr’s departure was due to his having reached an acceptable “retirement” age of 65, though his seat on Wynn’s board of directors had recently been continued into 2016.
Wynn–Wynn lawsuit raises claims
Instead, testimony and documents that have surfaced as part of the bitter legal battle between Steve Wynn and his former wife, Elaine Wynn, over breach of contract claims, suggest that Schorr’s departure may have been a forced resignation after he was tied to the illicit activities of another rising Wynn exec, Tim Poster. Poster, in turn, was found to have placed illegal sports bets online for a couple of dozen prominent friends, including Schorr. The bets were placed on prominent “offshore” site Pinnacle Sports, which was unlicensed to offer online sports-betting services to Nevadans.
Schorr also resigned his role as president of Wynn Resorts’ corporate subsidiary for the Boston casino, Wynn MA LLC, thus precluding Massachusetts’ gaming regulators from needing to investigate Schorr, as they did with 11 other key Wynn execs. Poster, too, ran afoul of gaming regulators, as he was denied Nevada gaming-suitability approval later in 2013.
The investigation into Poster began with a look into his relationship with Rick Rizzolo, a former Vegas strip-club owner with ties to the mob. That expanded into an investigation into Poster’s alleged hiding of evidence from investigators, and his own role as a runner of sorts for the offshore Pinnacle sports book. Poster was unanimously denied on the suitability request by the three-member Nevada Gaming Control Board panel.
All that swirled beneath Wynn Resorts’ corporate veneer as the company sought to put its best face forward in Massachusetts, according to the LVRJ. And now, those old and buried skeletons have resurfaced as part of a renewed investigation into Wynn Resorts by those same Massachusetts gaming regulators, who are assessing whether Wynn will be allowed to retain its Massachusetts gaming license in the wake of decades of sexual-misconduct allegations against former Wynn Resorts chairman Steve Wynn.
As an aside to the Steve Wynn part of the situation, Wynn Resorts has announced its plans to change the name of its future Boston casino, removing the Wynn name entirely. The new name for the casino will be Encore Boston Harbor. Massachusetts regulators would still need to approve the name change for the casino, which is slated to open in June of 2019.
Schorr fired after blow up
The testimony submitted in the Elaine Wynn case, now published in part by the LVRJ, indicates that Schorr was in fact fired by Steve Wynn after a “blowup” between the two over Schorr’s illicit placing of sports bets, via Poster, at Pinnacle. Wynn ordered the seizure and search of Schorr’s work computers and no evidence of any such sports betting was found, though that didn’t matter to Wynn.
Schorr was still forced out over what would have been – and still could be – a highly sensitive topic to regulators, though he was allowed to keep 200,000 shares of Wynn stock that had yet to become fully vested, and which would become worth $25m when they matured a while later.