Judge Sides With Steve Wynn in Nevada Gaming Control Board Complaint

  • Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is considering its next steps after the judge’s decision
  • It had been intending to fine or discipline Steve Wynn over sexual misconduct allegations
  • Judge ruled that the board cannot pursue action as Wynn is no longer part of the casino sector
  • Steve Wynn resigned as Wynn Resorts CEO and chairman in February 2018 following allegations
  • Casino company received hefty financial penalties of $20m in Nevada and $35m in Massachusetts
legal professional works at a desk with judge's gavel and laptop
A district court judge has ruled against the Nevada Gaming Control Board in its complaint against former casino mogul Steve Wynn. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update: Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) members on December 2 voted unanimously in favor of appealing the Clark County District Court’s decision concerning Steve Wynn’s suitability to hold a gaming license in the state. The Nevada Gaming Commission will also determine whether it will appeal the court’s November ruling that the NGCB had no jurisdiction over Wynn and could no longer pursue legal action against him.

NGCB to consider next steps

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is considering its next steps after the Clark County District Court sided with Steve Wynn in its ruling on a legal complaint case. The NGCB had been attempting to fine or discipline Wynn over allegations of workplace sexual misconduct, despite the former casino mogul no longer having a license or being a part of the state’s gambling sector. 

the NGCB has no jurisdiction over Wynn and therefore cannot pursue legal action against him

Clark County District Judge Adriana Escobar’s verdict late last week was that the NGCB has no jurisdiction over Wynn and therefore cannot pursue legal action against him. She stated: “Respondents fail to provide any authority supporting their jurisdiction over a person no longer involved in Nevada’s gaming industry in any capacity.”

Both Williams and Wynn’s other attorney, Don Campbell, argued that their 78-year-old client was no longer a resident in Nevada and does not plan to re-enter the casino sector. Campbell also outlined that Wynn did not have a personal gaming license at the time of his resignation as the chief executive and chairman of Wynn Resorts in February 2018. He had also divested himself of company shares and resigned from the corporate board.

The court’s decision is now open to an appeal to the state Supreme Court. The defendant’s attorney, Colby Williams, declined to comment on Monday about the judge’s conclusion.

Origins of the complaint

The origins of the case go back to October 2019, when the NGCB filed a five-count complaint with the Nevada Gaming Commission. The board wanted the commission to revoke Wynn’s suitability to be active in the state’s casino sector. It also called on the commission to fine Wynn on grounds of allegations of sexual misconduct that “harmed Nevada’s reputation and its gaming industry.”

In a December 2019 meeting, the Nevada Gaming Commission considered fining Wynn as much as $500,000 and declaring him to be unsuitable to renew any ties to Nevada. Wynn was not in attendance at the meeting. 

Wynn’s legal team quickly filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that he no longer had a role in the casino sector in Nevada. The attorneys believed the gaming board was trying to inflict financial punishment on Wynn, who still denies all allegations of misconduct.

Other hefty fines for Wynn Resorts

As a result of Wynn Resorts’ failures to investigate the claims of sexual misconduct against its founder before his resignation, the Nevada Gaming Commission fined the casino company $20m. Massachusetts gambling regulators also imposed a financial penalty of $35m on the casino and resort giant for not disclosing the allegations while the company was applying for a Boston-area casino license. 

Nevada Gaming Commission fined the casino company $20m

In November 2019, Wynn Resorts agreed to accept $20m of damages from Steve Wynn, plus $21m from insurance carriers on behalf of former and current employers. The sum would settle the shareholder lawsuits that were accusing company directors of not disclosing the sexual misconduct allegations. There was no admission of wrongdoing as part of the agreements.

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