The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has given the green light for Wynn Resorts to proceed with the opening of a new casino in the state, but has also hit the firm and its CEO with hefty fines for ‘numerous violations of controlling statutes and regulations’. The company is expected to pay $35m, while boss Matthew Maddox must hand over $500,000 personally.
“Ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the gaming industry and the strict oversight of the gaming establishments through rigorous regulation is our principal objective,” said Chair Cathy Judd-Stein.
“Our licensees will be held to the highest standards of compliance, including an obligation to maintain their integrity. The law of Massachusetts affords the Commission significant breadth in our decision making. With that comes an equally significant duty of fairness. We are confident that we have struck the correct balance and met our legal and ethical burdens.”
After lengthy deliberations, the commissioners concluded that Wynn Resorts, Wynn MA, LLC and its qualifiers remain and are suitable to maintain the Region A Category-1 gaming license, subject to the fines and conditions set forth in the decision.
According to the decision, the Commission identified what it described as numerous violations of controlling statutes and regulations largely pertaining to a pervasive failure to properly investigate in accordance with existing policies and procedures, and to notify the Commission about certain allegations of wrongdoing.
Although the Commission determined that there was a lack of substantial evidence to disrupt the licensee’s suitability status, commissioners said they were profoundly disturbed by “repeated systemic failures and pervasive culture of non-disclosure presented in the IEB report and adjudicatory hearing”.
In addition to the fines, Wynn Resorts must maintain the separation of Chair and CEO for at least the term of the 15-year license. Furthermore, at the firm’s expense the Commission will select an independent monitor to conduct a full review and evaluation of all policies and organizational changes adopted by the company as part of the adjudicatory record.
Wynn can now go ahead with opening its $2.6bn Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, but not without further scrutiny from the Commission which said: “Given our findings, it is now in the interest of the Commonwealth that the gaming licensee move forward in establishing and maintaining a successful gaming establishment in Massachusetts. One of the key metrics by which we will measure that success will be the overall well-being, safety, and welfare of the employees.
“A second but equally important metric is the importance of compliance and communication with the regulator. This penalty is designed to guarantee these practices. The Commission acknowledges that the company has introduced a multitude of policy and organizational changes to address employee safety. These changes to the company’s philosophy, training, and operations show a new found commitment and focus on all levels of employees, which combined with the ongoing successful business operations, continue to demonstrate that Wynn is likely to be a successful operator in Everett.”