After Controversy, Mass. Gaming Commission Chair Optimistic About Encore Casino's Opening
June 20, 2019
The Encore Casino in Everett will open its doors for the first time Sunday, amidst a flurry of fanfare and controversy.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) opened an investigation last year into whether Wynn Resorts could retain its license, in the wake of sexual assault allegations against former owner Steve Wynn. Though Wynn resigned from the company, questions still lingered about the culpability of Wynn Resorts’ board of directors, and CEO Matthew
Maddox, in covering up the allegations.
In April, the commission ruled that it would allow Wynn Resorts to retain its license but fined the company $35 million.
MGC Chair Catherine Judd-Stein told Boston Public Radio Thursday that she is confident in the commission’s ruling.
"We really had a great framework that the [law passed by the state legislature] provided for us,” Judd-Stein said. “Interestingly, the law really worked, and as a lawyer, applying the law in that way, I’m very, very comfortable saying the framework really worked and gave us great guidance.”
Though some had pushed for more stringent fines, and others advocated for the company's license to be fully revoked, Judd-Stein hopes that with the controversy in the past, the casino will enjoy robust business.
“It is very exciting that this place that was on a very contaminated site has been cleaned up, and is going to be the home for 250,000 new employees,” Judd-Stein said.
In addition to imposing the fine, the commission also required Wynn Resorts’ board of directors to provide executive training for Maddox to address what they saw as a lapse in management and judgment in handling the sexual assault allegations.
“He’s been a very successful CEO in so many ways on the gaming front, but we did see that there were some challenges,” Judd-Stein said. “This training could help him on the complexities of the HR matters that were really the subject matter of our deliberations.”