Casino magnate Steve Wynn is attracting the notice of gambling regulators in Massachusetts and Nevada, following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Massachusetts regulators are holding a special meeting to discuss the allegations against Wynn, whose company is building a $2.4 billion casino outside Boston. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will receive an update on an investigation Wednesday. Separately, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said in a statement that it opened the investigation after completing a review, but it did not provide any further details.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says if the allegations are true, Wynn would "fail to meet the suitability standard under the state gaming law."
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women said they were harassed or assaulted by Wynn, and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement. The 76-year-old Wynn has denied the allegations.
Under the 2011 casino law, a Massachusetts license is considered a "revocable privilege," and can be suspended or revoked if a licensee is found "unsuitable to operate a gaming establishment."
Becky Harris, the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, declined to answer questions from The Associated Press seeking additional information.
"The Nevada Gaming Control Board will conduct its investigation in a thorough and judicious manner," according to the statement from the three-member panel.
Nevada gambling regulations provide grounds for disciplinary action if any activity from the licensed operator, its agents or employees is deemed "inimical to the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare" of Nevada residents or discrediting of the state and its gambling industry.
Regulators could potentially levy fines against the company, place conditions on its license or even revoke it.
At the same time, the board of directors of Wynn Resorts has said a committee of independent directors would investigate the allegations. It will be headed by Patricia Mulroy, a Wynn Resorts board member and a former member of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appoints the members of the board, on Tuesday told The Associated Press he was "disturbed, saddened and deeply troubled" by the allegations.
"There is no place and there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace," he said. "As governor, I will continue to work to ensure that all Nevadans work in a safe and respectful environment. Anything less is unacceptable."
Since 2013, Wynn has contributed nearly $2.4 million to GOP candidates and party organizations around the country, including Sandoval and 2017 special election winners. Some Republicans in Congress, including Nevada's Dean Heller, have already announced they are donating contributions they received from Wynn to charity.
Wynn resigned Saturday as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The union representing more than 50,000 casino workers in Las Vegas, including 5,500 housekeepers, cooks, bartenders and food and cocktail servers at Wynn's two casino-hotels, plans to strengthen the language against sexual harassment in contracts when it begins negotiations next month with the majority of operators, but not Wynn Resorts. The contracts of the company's unionized workers are not up for negotiations yet.
"We are deeply disturbed by these accusations against Steve Wynn and support a full and fair investigation regarding these allegations," Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the Culinary Union secretary-treasurer, said in a statement. The organization will also ask "panic buttons" for every housekeeper.
Gambling regulators in Massachusetts, where Wynn's company is building a roughly $2 billion casino just outside Boston, are also looking into the allegations.
In addition, the China arm of Wynn's casino empire has said it will comply with Macau regulators as they seek more information. Macau, a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong, is the world's most lucrative casino market and the main source of profits for Wynn and other foreign gambling companies.