Sunday, April 22, 2018

Can't Wynn For Losing

What will happen to the gaming school then?

"Wynn’s presence in Mass. could be in doubt amid investigation" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff  April 07, 2018

Richard McGowan, a gambling expert at Boston College, said he would be surprised to see another casino operator get involved in Everett, in part because of how much money Wynn has already sunk into the lavish project.

Many casino operators, McGowan said, are already stretched thin financially. 


“Who could they sell it to where they recoup their losses?” McGowan said. “If they sell at a discount, even then I’d like to know who could pull it off. . . . You’re talking about a $2.5 billion project.”

The commission made it clear that Wynn’s license is at stake when it launched its investigation in January after The Wall Street Journal reported a number of sexual harassment claims against then-CEO Steve Wynn.

The agency is performing a new “suitability” review of the company’s integrity and financial stability. In particular, its investigators will want to know what other executives knew about the sexual harassment allegations that former female employees made against Steve Wynn, and how those complaints were handled. The checklist includes figuring out whether anyone else in the company knew about a $7.5 million settlement Steve Wynn reached in 2005 with a manicurist who used to work at Wynn, a settlement that the company didn’t disclose when it was applying for its casino license.

Steve Wynn stepped down as CEO after the Journal story broke. He subsequently sold all his stock in the company, and began packing his bags to leave his home at the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

It’s widely assumed that Wynn Resorts won’t hoist the name of its disgraced former CEO atop the Everett tower — the company could use its Encore brand instead. But there’s a new concern emerging among those behind the Wynn project, which is scheduled to open in mid-2019, that changing the name might not be enough.

First, on March 27, The Wall Street Journal published another story with more details about the harassment claims. The new twist: These claims were often dismissed or ignored by supervisors. That article was seen as an indictment not just of the flamboyant founder but also of the corporate culture.

Then, later that week, Crosby presided over a routine construction update from Wynn representatives. Crosby addressed the tension by saying at the start of the meeting that “as a practical matter . . . Wynn Resorts proceeds with this project on an at-risk basis.”

Wynn’s stock took a big hit after the first story broke in January, with the price plunging from $200 to $160 a share over the course of a few days. The stock is now trading in the $180 range, although takeover speculation may be fueling some of the increase.

The company had been considered one of the strongest financial performers in the industry, making huge money from casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. Its net revenue rose 41 percent last year, to $6.3 billion, in part because of a new casino in Macau. But the company also reported nearly $10 billion in debt at the end of the year.

The company also announced in March that it would pay $2.4 billion to settle longstanding litigation with Universal Entertainment Corp. of Japan. The company later that month sold more than $900 million in stock to another casino operator, Galaxy Entertainment, a move seen as a way to help pay for the Universal settlement.

Wynn is also being investigated in Nevada, and a failed suitability review in Massachusetts could have implications in the company’s home state.

Matt Maddox, the new CEO, was asked by the Globe in February whether the company would sell the Everett project. The response: “That is not part of the Wynn plan.”

But as everyone in the Wynn organization knows, plans can change.....




Wynn Resorts seeks to remove Steve Wynn from its Mass. license

The Wynn mess, and the Mass. Gaming Commission’s big problem

The winner is the Wampanoags.

Everett’s mayor, loath to see Wynn removed from casino project, says he has veto power

Wynn construction worker who died after getting injured on the job ID’d as Seekonk man

Construction worker who died at Wynn casino site was the ‘rock of his family’

They buried him at the bottom of page B9 along with these fellows.

"Wynn Resorts in preliminary talks with MGM to sell Everett casino" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  April 12, 2018

Casino giant Wynn Resorts has had preliminary talks about selling its $2.5 billion Everett gambling resort to MGM Resorts International, a move that would remake the state’s casino industry before it is even on its feet, according to a person familiar with the talks.

News of the talks follows widespread speculation that Wynn Resorts is looking to leave Massachusetts, while state regulators are investigating sexual misconduct allegations against former company chairman Steve Wynn.

The disclosure of the private talks with MGM may well please Wynn Resorts executives, who have been looking to inject more urgency to conclude the commission’s investigation, according to people familiar with the strategic thinking at the company’s corporate headquarters in Las Vegas.

The investigation is not expected to be done before the summer.

“The company is looking for a signal that they’re not going to get their license yanked,” said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, who negotiated the city’s deal to bring a five-star Wynn Resorts hotel and casino to the site of a former chemical plant on the Mystic River.

That's how he got in trouble.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is also investigating how the company handled the complaints against Steve Wynn. Despite Steve Wynn’s departure and the likelihood that the casino will not bear his name, the commission could deem Wynn Resorts unsuitable to hold its lucrative state casino license.

State regulators have been tight-lipped about the investigation. But what little they have said has sounded ominous to officials at Wynn Resorts: Gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby recently addressed the investigation with a statement that Wynn Resorts is proceeding with the project on an “at-risk basis.”

In a statement Thursday evening, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox seemed to refer to Crosby’s comment in explaining the company’s position.

“We remain very excited about the Boston market,” the Maddox statement said. “However, our obligation to shareholders is always to maximize the value of our assets and to mitigate risk. These obligations are particularly relevant in light of recent commentary that was made despite our rapid and decisive efforts to sever all ties with our former chairman, actively searching for new diverse board members, and fully cooperating with the regulators in Massachusetts and elsewhere.”

The talks between Wynn Resorts and MGM were first reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

MGM is currently building a $960 million casino in Springfield, scheduled to open this fall, but would likely have to sell that property if it bought the Everett casino. State law forbids a casino company from holding two licenses in Massachusetts. 

That could explain the local advertisements for it that have recently disappeared.

In a statement, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he has checked with the city’s lawyers and is confident in the “protections” its agreement with MGM afford the city.

“I don’t want to speculate on what MGM might or might not do,” he said.

He's kind of a dictator (she is just upset because he is against sanctuary cities and not very religious).

The turmoil related to the Everett casino stems from January, when The Wall Street Journal reported allegations of a pattern of sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn, including accusations of exposing himself and pressuring employees into sex.

The allegations triggered investigations by the commission’s enforcement arm and Nevada regulators, and an internal review by the Wynn Resorts board.

Wynn Resorts — and Steve Wynn individually — passed background checks in Massachusetts before the company won the Boston area casino license in 2014, and the company was declared “suitable” to hold a license. Character and reputation are elements of “suitability,” and must be continually maintained. Investigators want to know what executives at Wynn Resorts knew about the allegations against Steve Wynn, and what, if anything, did they do about them.

Yeah, the casino must be ethically pure and above corruption (ha-ha-ha).

Wynn Resorts is spending about $3 million a day in Everett, about half on payroll. About 1,500 people work at the site. The resort is around 60 percent complete and due to open in June 2019. Wynn Resorts has said the project is the largest single-phased private development in state history.

Since the allegations against him were reported in January, Steve Wynn has resigned from the company, sold his stock, and is moving from the villa where he lived at the company’s flagship property on the Las Vegas strip. He has denied ever assaulting any women.....


RelatedEverett shouldn’t have to pay for Steve Wynn’s misdeeds

Who $hould?

"A six-year boardroom battle involving the company founded by embattled former Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn and his ex-wife has been settled on the brink of a trial in Nevada state court. A judge dismissed prospective jurors Monday after attorneys told her the case had been dropped pending an undisclosed payment from Steve Wynn to Elaine Wynn. Lawyers declined to provide specifics outside court. They said details would be posted later in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Wynn Resorts Ltd. said in a statement that Elaine Wynn dropped claims against the company, and it made no payment under the agreement. The settlement came after Wynn Resorts reached a $2.4 billion settlement last month with the main plaintiff in the 2012 case, Japanese business tycoon Kazuo Okada."

Did you see who else was at the table?

"Wynn Resorts Ltd., the casino operator coping with a sexual-harassment scandal tied to its former chief executive officer, named three new board members — all of them women. Dee Dee Myers, president Bill Clinton’s former spokeswoman; Betsy Atkins, a corporate-governance advocate; and Wendy Webb, former investor-relations chief at Walt Disney Co., were appointed to the Wynn Resorts board, according to a company filing Tuesday....."

Wynn is wondering why he had to quit!

Especially when their luck is changing:

"Less competition has led to higher profits for Atlantic City’s casinos in 2017 — but will it last with two more casinos soon to join the mix? The seven casinos saw their gross operating profits increase by 22.5 percent last year, to $723 million. That is good news for the seaside gambling resort, which saw five of its 12 casinos shut down since 2014. Harrah’s was the only one whose profit declined, down 2.7 percent to $115.8 million. The Borgata had the highest profit at $292 million, up 19.5 percent from 2016. This summer, two shuttered casinos are due to reopen: the former Trump Taj Mahal as Hard Rock, and the former Revel as the Ocean Resort."

What's their gain is Connecticut's lo$$:

"Conn. gambling bills in limbo as legislative session nears end" by Susan Haigh Associated Press  April 21, 2018

HARTFORD — With the clock running out on Connecticut’s legislative session, it’s unclear which bills, if any, that could lead to more gambling will make it to the finish line before lawmakers hit the campaign trail.

Make the bet or fold!

It’s also fuzzy whether the General Assembly will agree to instead spend money on an independent study of the issue.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz this week said lawmakers ‘‘need to move forward with a comprehensive plan of what gambling looks like.’’ But his comments came a day after the Appropriations Committee defeated a bill that would have funded an estimated $500,000 to $750,000 strategic plan for gambling expansion.

Meanwhile, lawmakers who want the state to create an open bidding process for a new casino aren’t giving up.....

They never do, and the irony of it.