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Move to amend Nevada gaming regulations to address sexual harassment

Updated May 1, 2018 - 5:40 pm

A comprehensive written plan to prevent sexual harassment may soon be required of Nevada’s gaming licensees.

The state Gaming Control Board will conduct a public regulation workshop Thursday at 1:30 p.m., to consider a 2½-page amendment to Regulation 5. The regulation encompasses the rules that spell out operations in gaming establishments and disciplinary actions that can be taken against licensees, including license suspensions, revocations and fines.

The amendment would take effect upon passage by the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission. It’s unclear how long it would be before commissioners take up final adoption of the amendment since more workshop meetings could be scheduled.

The proposal was spurred by the sexual harassment scandal that has rocked Wynn Resorts Ltd. and led to the resignation of its chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn, in February.

Wynn has denied accusations that he sexually harassed or assaulted employees over the course of several decades, even after stepping down from his corporate role and selling all his shares of company stock. New Wynn CEO Matt Maddox has focused efforts to separate Steve Wynn from the company as industry regulators in two states and Macau investigate sexual harassment allegations reported in several publications since late January.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has indicated it would complete its investigation of Wynn sometime in the summer and Nevada’s Gaming Control Board anticipates the conclusion of its investigation by fall.

Wynn’s board of directors is also conducting its own investigation independent of the regulators.

Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris said drafting the amendment was a team effort by herself, board members Shawn Reid and Terry Johnson, Gaming Control Board staff and representatives from the state attorney general’s office.

“We sent out an industry notice a month and a half ago to licensees that we were looking into sexual harassment and sent forth guidelines for what’s now being called an amendment to Reg 5 to licensees in anticipation of having some workshops,” Harris said in a telephone interview.

Harris said Thursday’s workshop meeting will be the first opportunity for all three board members to discuss it because of open-meeting-law requirements. Industry representatives and the public will also have an opportunity to comment on the proposed measure before adoption.

Gaming legal experts have speculated that the Control Board could issue a Regulation 5 complaint against Wynn Resorts despite Steve Wynn’s separation from the company because the regulations prohibit activity that would be harmful to “the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the people of the state of Nevada, or that would reflect or tend to reflect discredit upon the state of Nevada or the gaming industry.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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