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Sexual harassment prevention rules for Las Vegas casinos delayed

Updated November 15, 2018 - 10:36 pm

The Nevada Gaming Commission won’t take up sexual harassment regulations anytime soon.

Chairman Tony Alamo said Thursday he doesn’t expect his five-member commission to consider new regulations until after the investigation of harassment accusations at Wynn Resorts Ltd. are aired.

“It’s a very important topic,” Alamo said of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s proposed regulations, recommended in a unanimous vote Wednesday.

“They’re (the Control Board) in the middle of an investigation with a licensee that’s very much intertwined with the potential topics at hand, so I think it’s important and prudent that this commission, going forward, needs to make sure we have color and all facts, especially in light of this investigation that is 10 months long. Right now, we don’t know any of the facts or any of the details.”

The Control Board launched an investigation of Wynn Resorts and its former chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn, when allegations of sexual harassment and assault were reported by numerous media outlets.

Steve Wynn has denied the accusations, but he stepped down from his executive position in February and severed all financial ties and stock ownership with the company.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also is looking into the allegations and may consider whether the company continues to be suitable to hold a gaming license there. Wynn Resorts plans to open a $2.5 billion resort near Boston in June.

The Massachusetts commission was hoping to convene an adjudicatory hearing by mid-December, but that could be delayed because Steve Wynn filed a lawsuit against the commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and Wynn Resorts over the dissemination of attorney-client privileged communications.

Alamo said he believes information from the Wynn investigation could be a factor in developing new harassment regulations.

“It may be more prudent and better for this commission to address that question when we have all the facts in front of us,” Alamo said.

“It’s not an issue of work product; it’s an issue of the timing. We need to get the licensee and the investigation to the surface. I think slow and methodical is a better way to go.”

The Control Board wrapped up proposed harassment regulations Wednesday after a hearing that drew more public comment than any of the three previous workshop hearings combined. Gov. Brian Sandoval attended the meeting and observed, but didn’t address the board.

The proposed amendment to Regulation 5, the industry’s rules on the operation of gaming establishments and businesses, would add a new section ordering licensees to maintain written policies and procedures addressing prevention, reporting and investigation of and response to sexual harassment in a licensee’s workplace.

The proposed regulation references a checklist every licensee would have to complete and file annually with the board.

On Thursday, the Control Board opted against making a recommendation on new sportsbook regulations. Chairwoman Becky Harris said the board would have at least one more hearing to incorporate suggestions to amend Regulations 5, 5A, 22 and 26C regarding the operation of sportsbooks in light of new technology and competition.

At issue is a suggestion to change regulations that require players to register in person when establishing a mobile gaming account. New Jersey doesn’t have that requirement and some sportsbook operators want to change Nevada rules, while others prefer to keep safeguards in place.

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

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