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There Wynn Goes Again: Boston Harbor Property Rebrands As Encore

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On Friday, April 27, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held an adjudicatory hearing to consider “Steve Wynn’s status under Massachusetts law as a qualifier relative to Wynn Resorts and Wynn Massachusetts.”

The hearing comes on the heels of attorneys for Wynn Resorts asking that MGC remove former CEO Steve Wynn as a qualifier. A qualifier is an employee required to pass suitability reviews.

According to the MGC:

“The purpose of the hearing today is to determine whether Stephen A. Wynn remains a qualifier under Massachusetts law relative to Wynn Resorts Limited, Wynn Massachusetts LLC, and all affiliates.

“This hearing will proceed as follows. First we will ask our legal counsel to discuss the law that governs the matter before us. Next, counsel for Wynn Resorts will be offered an opportunity to present evidence as to why it believes Mr. Wynn is no longer a qualifier.

“At the conclusion of this hearing, the Commission will adjourn the proceedings and gather privately with legal counsel to deliberate over this matter and reach a conclusion. A written opinion reflecting the decision will be issued shortly thereafter.”

Overview of the hearing

The hearing went largely as expected.

Representatives of Wynn Resorts and of Steve Wynn explained to the commissioners the ongoing steps they are taking to completely sever ties with one another. They also elaborated on what, if any, connections Wynn still has with the company.

MGC scrutinized everything from Steve Wynn’s personal bank accounts to the ownership of the extensive art collection on display at Wynn properties.

The presentation by Wynn Resorts also noted the significant changes to the company’s board of directors, including the addition of three women:

  • Dee Dee Myers
  • Wendy Webb
  • Betsy Atkins

The new additions raise the number of board members from 10 to 11. The board needs to have 7-14 members. The new members helped balance gender representation.The board previously consisted of nine men and one woman prior to the scandal. Its current makeup is now seven men and four women.

The MGCs decision will be issued next week

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the commissioners met privately with legal counsel to discuss the evidence and reach a conclusion on Steve Wynn’s status.

The MGC announced it will issue a written opinion sometime next week.

Company to bid adieu to Wynn Brand in Massachusetts

Wynn Resorts is not only severing ties from the man, it’s also starting to sever ties with the Wynn brand, at least in Massachusetts.

During the hearing, Wynn Resorts new CEO Matt Maddox said the company is prepared to change the name of the $2.4 billion casino project from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor.

The name change isn’t unexpected. Since the sexual misconduct scandal broke, several prominent Massachusetts officials have called on the company to remove the Wynn named from the building’s façade.

Conclusions to draw

The positive hearing and the company’s decision to commit to change the name of the property throws some cold water on the rumors of a sale. That sale would have been extremely difficult to pull off.

A sale is still possible. Nonetheless, these developments indicate that Wynn Resorts will be moving forward with its Boston casino plans. During the latest Wynn earnings call, Maddox said every option was on the table. However, the next day he categorically denied the Boston property was for sale.

Steve Ruddock

About

Steve Ruddock is a veteran of the poker media, contributing to offline and online publications centered on the regulated US online gambling industry. These include OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, USPoker.com as well as USA Today. Steve is based in Massachusetts and is also a poker player.