Nevada NewsMakers

News - December 11, 2019 - by Ray Hagar

Former Nevada Gov. Bob List questioned the authority of Nevada gaming regulators to continue to pursue former casino mogul Steve Wynn, now that the former chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts no longer has any ties to Nevada's gaming industry.

"I have been following that case in the media and I question their right to go after Steve at this point," List said on Nevada Newsmakers this week. "He has sold all of his stock. He has resigned his position and has nothing whatsoever to do with the company anymore."

Wynn is still subject to punishment and fines in an ongoing case over incidents of sexual harassment against him by the Nevada Gaming Commission because, technically, he still holds a gaming license, experts said.

Regulators say Wynn can not surrender his gaming license without state approval. They contend they still have "an administrative hold" on Wynn's gaming license.

The issue will be discussed at a Dec. 19 meeting of the Gaming Commission. Wynn's lawyers have filed a document maintaining regulators can no longer fine Wynn or revoke his suitability for a license because they no longer have jurisdiction over him.

List, Nevada's governor from 1979 to 1983, agrees.

"They (regulators) certainly can call a licensee forward," List told host Sam Shad. "They can call an individual who works there (gaming industry) forward and of course anybody who wants to get into the business has to go there first to get a license. But for a former licensee, I find it hard to image they can do anything with him."

When Shad pointed out that Wynn is not a "former licensee" until regulators determine that, List said: "He has resigned his positions. I guess it is for the courts."

List was also Nevada's attorney general from 1971 to 1979.

Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts and sold all stock in the company in February after allegations by several women that Wynn sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Even if gaming regulators allowed Wynn to surrender his Nevada license, he would still be on the hook because the sexual allegations allegedly occurred when Wynn was a licensee, leading Wynn Resorts, said Sean McGuinness, partner, Butler Snow, which specializes in gaming law.

"Even if Wynn surrendered his license, he would still fall under discretionary jurisdiction with the gaming authorities," McGuinness said earlier this year on Nevada Newsmakers. "The actions (of sexual misconduct) that are in question took place while he was in a mandatory licensing setting, so ostensibly, the gaming jurisdictions would have jurisdiction over him for what he may have done at that time."