CASINO

Wynn Resorts shares down nearly one-fifth since Friday

TAGs: Macau, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Steve Wynn, wynn macau, Wynn Resorts

wynn-resorts-stock-plunge-sexual-allegationsCasino operator Wynn Resorts is finding no safe place to hide from the bombshell sexual harassment allegations leveled against boss Steve Wynn on Friday.

Wynn Resorts shares fell 9.3% on Monday, after shedding nearly 10% on Friday, the day the Wall Street Journal reported claims of decades’ worth of sexual impropriety by Steve Wynn against multiple female members of Wynn Resorts staff. Both Steve and the company have vehemently denied the allegations.

The carnage wasn’t confined to American markets, as the company’s Wynn Macau offshoot saw its Hong Kong-listed shares fall 6.5% on Monday, the first opportunity the Asian market had to react since the story broke.

Adding urgency to the situation, Wynn’s Macau casino concession expires in 2022, and Steve had expressed optimism just last week that preliminary discussions with Macau government officials gave the company “reason to have confidence that our businesses will continue after the initial concession expiration date.”

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) had discussed the sexual allegations with Wynn management. Should the furor over the allegations persist, Wynn investors’ calls for Steve’s ouster could grow louder.

Monday also brought word that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has scheduled a public hearing on the allegations for Wednesday at 2pm. Wynn Resorts is building the $2.4b Wynn Boston Harbor integrated resort and the MGC announced this weekend that it had questions regarding the “suitability” of its newest casino licensee.

Spokesperson Elaine Driscoll issued a statement saying the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau “immediately initiated a review of this matter to assess implications for ongoing suitability,” and the hearing will allow the Bureau to update the MGC on its progress. Driscoll said the MGC was “profoundly aware of the gravity of this matter and will proceed with the appropriate sense of urgency and rigor.”

Wynn is facing a similar investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, as well as an internal probe by independent members of Wynn’s board of directors.

On Saturday, Steve resigned as finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Steve has been among the GOP’s top financial donors – contributing $2.4m since 2013 – but the allegations have sparked bipartisan calls for the RNC to return Steve’s donations.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Republican Senator Dean Heller from Wynn’s home state of Nevada plans to donate the $5,400 his re-election campaign received from Wynn last year to an unspecified charity. In Ohio, GOP Sen. Rob Portman is donating the $5,400 he received from Wynn to charities fighting human sex-trafficking.

The Republic Governors Association (RGA) announced Monday that it was returning $100k it had received from Wynn during the current election cycle. The RGA will also refuse future Wynn donations and is scuttling plans to hold a 2020 conference at Wynn Las Vegas.

Steve Wynn may yet survive this episode, but his bankroll has already taken a body blow. Steve holds 12.2m shares of Wynn Resorts, and the share price decline has reportedly cost him a paper loss of $462.5m since Friday. So much for that ‘happy ending,’ huh, Steve?

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