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New Fontainebleau president to face gaming board

Updated January 30, 2024 - 10:34 am

Fontainebleau Las Vegas’ new leader will have to go through a licensing process with state regulators.

Nevada Gaming Control Board officials said Monday that Maurice Wooden — named the resort’s president on Sunday by Fontainebleau Development, operators of the newly opened north Strip property — will come in front of gaming regulators as a key executive or employee. But the lengthy licensing process may not make it to a public agenda for several months, and Wooden can continue working all the while.

Wooden, a 36-year gaming and hospitality veteran, is best known for leading Wynn Las Vegas between 2013 and 2019. He also served as a member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Wooden’s time at Wynn ended during a tumultuous era for the company, when former chairman Steve Wynn abruptly resigned in 2018 after being accused of harassing female employees. A civil settlement involving nine former employees alleging the misconduct was approved Friday.

Wooden left the role overseeing day-to-day operations at Wynn and Encore about a month before a Nevada investigation was released claiming he knew of the allegations, according to a 2019 Las Vegas Review-Journal article. Wynn Resorts settled the case with Nevada regulators, but contested a statement in the complaint that alleged Wooden knew of the allegations. It’s unclear if those statements could come up in Wooden’s licensing investigation.

Fontainebleau executives said Wooden will lead the new luxury resort that opened in mid-December as it finds its footing in the Strip market.

“His well-established track record along with his unparalleled consistency and a deep knowledge of the hospitality and gaming industries instill an exceptional level of confidence in us as we continue the development and refinement of our Las Vegas property,” Fontainebleau Development Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer said in a Sunday news release.

Gaming Control Board spokesman Michael Lawton said a company has about a month to file an application for a new executive’s license. Once it is in, the control board’s investigation division performs “an extensive investigation.”

Some investigations can take several months, though Wooden’s could move faster given his experience in the market and in front of the board.

Fontainebleau officials said they will follow Gaming Control Board protocols.

Wooden replaces Mark Tricano, who was named the president in June. Resort officials said Sunday that Tricano has not left the company and will report to Wooden.

Wooden was most recently working with billionaire and Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta on his company’s growth plans in Nevada. A news release from May 2023 announced his appointment as president of luxury hotel development for Fertitta Entertainment.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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