Casino operator Wynn Resorts is reportedly serious about a potential sale of its in-development Massachusetts casino project.
On the weekend, Bloomberg reported that Wynn CEO Matt Maddox was having informal talks with unidentified parties regarding a potential sale of the $2.4b Wynn Boston Harbor project in Everett. The resort, construction of which got underway in 2016, is projected to open in June 2019.
The report follows Friday’s rumors that Wynn was discussing a potential sale of the entire company to rival MGM Resorts. It’s unclear how much of those rumors were based on the reported talks over the fate of Wynn Boston Harbor.
It’s equally unclear that Massachusetts regulators would approve an MGM takeover of the Boston project, given that MGM is close to opening its own casino, MGM Springfield, in the western part of Massachusetts.
Whoever Wynn is talking to, the Boston talks appear to reflect the growing sense that Massachusetts gaming regulators are preparing to bring the hammer down over the company’s possible role in covering up sexual harassment allegations against company founder and former CEO/chairman Steve Wynn.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is currently conducting a probe into how much Wynn’s senior management knew of the allegations when they underwent suitability screening ahead of the Boston project receiving its gaming license.
Just last month, Wynn Boston Harbor president Robert DeSalvio confirmed that the company was considering rebranding the resort in a bid to distance the property from the mountains of bad publicity generated by the allegations.
The Boston Globe quoted Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria saying he was “very disturbed” by the thought of the casino in his backyard changing owners. DeMaria said he believes his city’s deal with Wynn gives him “veto power” over any sale, and he “will exercise those priorities” if a new owner refuses to honor the various concessions in the Wynn deal.
STEVE IN ‘EVERYTHING MUST GO’ MODE
Meanwhile, Steve Wynn has been fingered as the seller of around $100m worth of high-profile art. Artnet reported that the renowned auction house Christie’s was prepping the sale of Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type] and Picasso’s Le Marin in New York on May 17.
Steve is a renowned art collector, whose collection once included Picasso’s Le Rêve, a painting Steve sold in 2013 for $155m, despite having accidentally punched a hole in the canvas via an errant elbow. Bloomberg reported that Steve sold another painting in Hong Kong last month for $19.5m, while a second Picasso is set to join next month’s Christie’s auction.
Steve’s art selloff follows the divestment last month of his 11.8% stake in Wynn Resorts, which was preceded by his resignation from the company he founded in February. Steve continues to vehemently deny the allegations made against him,