Control Board chief says Steve Wynn investigation will continue

Updated February 7, 2018 - 7:43 pm

On the day after Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., his name was not uttered a single time at Wednesday’s state Gaming Control Board meeting.

But Chairwoman Becky Harris, who conducted the historic meeting — the first ever with a woman at the helm — later issued a one-sentence statement addressing what was on everyone’s mind.

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board will continue with its investigation,” the statement said.

Board members routinely do not comment on investigations in progress, but the high-profile nature of the Wynn investigation and his stunning resignation announcement late Tuesday motivated the update.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also reiterated that it would continue its investigation into allegations that Wynn demanded sexual favors from and assaulted female hotel employees over the past three decades and attempted to hide a $7.5 million settlement through a shell company.

Wynn has vehemently denied the allegations, blaming their origin on his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn.

Complaint possible

The board could file a complaint through the attorney general’s office, and Wynn and the company could be fined or have licenses suspended or revoked by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Meeting in Carson City, the board slammed through its agenda in just over an hour, affirming payments of winnings to three gamblers in a high-profile “bad beat” poker game at Station Casino properties and recommending the licensing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the Klondike Sunset Casino, which is on the verge of being acquired by a former owner.

Board members found Brian Shapiro suitable to be licensed as a trustee for Nevada Gaming Partners LLC, operators of the Klondike Sunset, a 7,700-square-foot locals property that entered bankruptcy in October 2016, less than three months after its owner, Bruce Familian, was successfully licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Final approval of the licensing of the trustee will be considered by the commission at its Feb. 22 meeting.

Shapiro told board members Klondike Sunset is on the verge of being sold to a former owner, Carl Gudice, who also once owned the nearby Club Fortune Casino. Details of the planned acquisition were not disclosed, but Shapiro said he expects the deal to be completed by March.

‘Bad beat’ case

In a separate matter, the board affirmed that Station Casinos would be required to pay more than $62,000 in jackpots to three gamblers who appealed Station’s denial of payments.

While the board unanimously affirmed a hearing examiner’s recommendation to pay the players, Station still has the option of appealing to Clark County District Court.

“As we’ve said all along, our top priority is the fairness and integrity of the poker game,” Station spokeswoman Lori Nelson said.

“We don’t have a financial interest in the outcome here — only the players do. When the hearing officer’s report that was affirmed by the GCB today becomes available, we will review it and determine our next steps with that top priority in mind,” she said.

“If we are required to distribute the player-funded jackpot to those players who are part of the GCB case, we will distribute funds as ordered by the GCB. We will additionally distribute funds to all entitled players, who were active in accordance with the rules of the game, at the time of the dispute, including those who were not a part of the GCB case.”

The biggest loser in the case was Avi Shamir, an 83-year-old man who speaks English as a second language and stands to win $60,000. Claims also were submitted by Michael Bluestein and Rochelle Lindner, who were eligible to collect $565 each according to the rules of the game. There are believed to be at least 85 other players eligible for shares of the jackpot, distributed to people who were playing at any Station property at the time someone suffered a “bad beat” — a poker hand that normally is good enough to win a big prize but is edged out by another player with a better hand.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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