The casino world was rocked this week as Steve Wynn, one of the biggest names in the gambling business, stepped down as CEO of his company. We’ll start there as we recap the relevant casino news of the week:
Wynn Steps Down As CEO
It was recently revealed that billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn has found himself in hot water due to sexual misconduct allegations. There has been a firestorm of media coverage and a number of people calling for him to step aside. He did exactly that on Wednesday, stepping down as CEO of Wynn Resorts.
The latest news that came out was that he settled a sexual harassment allegation with a female employee by paying her around $7.5 million. It has also come out that it involved a paternity claim from her. The accuser, who used to be a manicurist at Wynn Las Vegas, came forward after smaller pieces of information were released suggesting that Wynn was notorious for this sort of behavior. It’s alleged he wanted to make the payment to keep the story under wraps while Wynn Resorts has been expanding in Las Vegas and Macau. These allegations have led to Wynn Resorts’ stock tumbling and now he is being investigated for hiding the settlement. Beyond that, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is looking into whether it should allow Wynn Resorts to continue building a new $2.4-billion casino there. Wynn himself has already had to resign as the finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
Resorts World Catskills
There’s a new casino going up in New York state and it could be the reason a new town is put on the map. Thompson is located about 85 miles northwest of New York City and it will be the home of a new $900-million casino that could become a major gambling attraction in the northeast. Resorts World Catskills is going to have over 150 table games, along with over 2,100 slot machines and 10 bars/restaurants. It’s the final non-tribal casino to open in an agreement that started in 2014.
Many view it as a possible game-changer because it is closer to New York City than any of its competitors. It is also near the Catskills Mountains, which is a major tourist attraction, so those making a road trip out of it can get to nature and get to the tables.
The State of New York itself has reported declining revenues for its casinos but Resorts World would like to change that. We’ll see if this gives the New York casino industry the shot in the arm it’s looking for.
China Considers Hainan Island
Macau is known as the gambling centre of Asia but it might soon have some nearby competition. China is weighing whether to legalize gambling on Hainan Island, which is really hurting financially these days. It’s looking into all of the options, including online casinos, sports betting as well as land-based casinos. The hope is that these may boost the tourism industry. Since you can’t bet on the mainland, the government might allow it on the island. The government is trying to make Hainan Island a major tourist destination by investing heavily in infrastructure. That means a new airport, highways and railways, which will help with the flow of traffic in and out. Many feel that they are trying to spin it into their version of Hawaii but also attract visitors via gambling. We’ll see if they actually go through with it and legalize gambling there because that could be a significant shift in Asia.