Steve Wynn has sought to live a quiet life outside the public eye since his reputation was forever tarnished in January of 2018. But a ruling this week by the highest court in Nevada could result in the disgraced billionaire being asked to testify regarding the sexual misconduct allegations that numerous women have levied against him.
Despite maintaining that he never acted inappropriately with Wynn Resorts subordinates, Wynn resigned from his casino empire and sold off his entire ownership stake in the organization by March of 2018. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) sought to penalize Steve Wynn in October of 2019 with a five-count complaint. But his attorneys argued that the state no longer has jurisdiction over their client.
Clark County District Court Judge Adriana Escobar agreed in November of 2020, when she ruled that state gaming regulators lack the authority to punish an individual who no longer is involved with its industry.
“Respondents fail to support their position that they have jurisdiction over a person with no intent to be involved in Nevada’s gaming industry in the future. Why? There is none,” Escobar concluded.
But today, the Nevada Supreme Court, which fielded an appeal on Escobar’s ruling from the Nevada Gaming Commission, came down in favor of the state.
District Judge Erred
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled unanimously 7-0 against Escobar’s decision to limit the Nevada Gaming Commission’s ability to penalize Steve Wynn. The state’s Gaming Control Board, which makes regulatory recommendations to the superior NGC, has sought to publicly denounce Stee Wynn and label him as unsuitable for licensure in Nevada’s gold standard gaming industry.
The seven justices said that because the Nevada Gaming Commission hadn’t ruled on whether to endorse the NGCB’s recommendation that Steve Wynn be labeled “unsuitable to be associated with a gaming enterprise or the gaming industry as a whole,” the high court concluded that Escobar overstepped her power.
We conclude that the district court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Wynn’s petition for writ of prohibition,” Justice Abbi Silver wrote on the court’s behalf. “Therefore, we determine that the district court erred by granting Wynn’s petition and remand this matter to the district court with instructions to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.”
What It All Means
The Nevada Gaming Commission cannot financially penalize Steve Wynn for his alleged actions that victims claim occurred over many years inside his Las Vegas casinos. But the state agency can, at least according to the Nevada Supreme Court, seek to ban him from ever having a future role in a casino inside the state.
Wynn Resorts paid the financial price for the scandal. The company was fined $35.5 million in Massachusetts and another $20 million in Nevada for its founder’s alleged actions. In exchange, Wynn Resorts retained its casino licenses in both Nevada and Massachusetts.
Steve Wynn today calls Florida’s Palm Beach area home. His Summerlin, Nevada, mansion has been on the market for months, but has reportedly found a buyer. The listing price for the “Billionaire’s Row” pad is $24.5 million.
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