Nevada

News

February 2018

Steve Wynn Resigns, Industry and Beyond React

by Lori Tenny

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas, Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas, Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Steve Wynn, the casino mogul who is largely credited for propelling Las Vegas into a powerhouse gaming and entertainment destination, resigned Tuesday, Feb. 6, as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in the wake of sexual misconduct accusations.

“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in a statement, referring to a Jan. 26 article in The Wall Street Journal and a Feb. 5 article in The Las Vegas Review Journal.

“As I have reflected upon the environment this has created—one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts—I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles," he added.

Upon Wynn's resignation, the board appointed the company's president, Matt Maddox, as its CEO, effective immediately.

Wynn designed, built and operated the most iconic resorts on the Las Vegas strip, beginning with The Mirage, then Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts currently owns and operates Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, Cotai.

The gaming and meetings industries, as well as women’s rights groups, were swift to react to Wynn's resignation.

“While I don’t believe this will affect decisions made by meeting planners overall, I do believe this is a positive trend that executives are being held accountable,” Tracey Smith, president of SPIN (Senior Professionals Industry Network), told Meetings Today. “It also fosters a safer environment in the workplace for all employees across all industries. I am hopeful this trend empowers women to speak up and be able to stand up to this inexcusable behavior.”

Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, a women’s advocacy organization, said in a statement that "Wynn’s resignation from the company that he founded and bears his name sends an important message" that no matter how powerful someone is, they will be held accountable.

“But we should not pretend this is the end of this story,” Chaudhary added. “Much more needs to be done to protect hotel, restaurant, resort and casino workers—most of whom are women of color—not only on the Las Vegas strip, but in hotels across the country where sexual harassment and abuse are rampant.”

Meanwhile, an article published in The Las Vegas Review Journal quoted Chris Grove, managing director at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, saying he hopes Wynn’s resignation will start a new era in which the casino industry “displays no tolerance for treatment of women in any fashion other than a fair, respectful and equivalent one.”

In its official written statement, the Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts said it accepted Wynn’s resignation “with a collective heavy heart” and highlighted his major contributions to Las Vegas, calling him an industry giant, a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. Wynn Resorts said it remains committed as ever to upholding the highest standards and being an inclusive and supportive employer.

“In fact, more than 40 percent of all Wynn Las Vegas management are women—the highest in the gaming industry,” the company noted in its statement. 

Wynn Resorts said it will continue to fully focus on its operations at Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace and Wynn Las Vegas, the development and opening of the first phase of Wynn Paradise Park, currently under construction on the former Wynn golf course, as well as the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, which will open in June 2019.

Do the allegations against Steve Wynn or his subsequent resignation, and the allegations against others in the industry, influence how and where you/or your clients do business and/or book meetings and events?

Respond in the comments section below.

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