Nevada gaming regulators to enact rules to combat sexual harassment

Nevada gaming regulators plan to enact new regulations and standards to establish procedures and requirements that will help casino companies comply with existing federal and state workplace sexual harassment laws.

State Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris on Thursday issued a notice to the state’s nearly 3,000 gaming licensees that the Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission would soon address the possible enactment of new rules.

The call for new standards comes as former Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn faces increased scrutiny for alleged sexual harassment and assault spanning over three decades.

Regulators in two states and Macau are investigating the claims as well as the Wynn board of directors. Wynn and the board have been the subject of two lawsuits from unnamed accusers alleging assault, battery and coercion, among other charges. Four pension funds have also sued alleging that the board’s failure to act against Wynn on the harassment allegations resulted in the value of their investments to fall.

Accusations denied

Wynn has denied the accusations, blaming his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, of orchestrating the scandal, a charge she has denied. He resigned as chairman and CEO of the company on Feb. 6 and has until the end of May to move from a villa at Wynn Las Vegas, where he lives.

Amendments to regulations are developed through proposals from industry stakeholders and discussions in workshop meetings before enactment.

Harris also warned licensees in her notice that violators of regulations could be disciplined through fines or license suspensions or revocations.

“Sexual harassment continues to be one of the most frequent complaints raised in the workplace,” Harris said in her notice. “Sexual harassment includes, among other things, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment. An anti-sexual harassment policy is a key component to sexual harassment prevention.”

Checklist

Harris’ notification also included a 15-point checklist for licensees to gauge the strength of their anti-sexual harassment policies as well as a sample sexual harassment claim form that could be made available to all company employees.

Gaming licensees could be disciplined under Regulation 5, a board policy to protect public confidence and trust in the gaming industry, if a company shows “willful or persistent use or toleration of methods of operation deemed unsuitable.”

Industry experts have said Nevada regulators could pursue a complaint against Wynn and the company for the violation of Regulation 5 regardless of whether a court judgment or settlement occurs.

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

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