Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2018

Currently: 66° — Complete forecast

Nevada nears new sexual harassment policies at casinos

CARSON CITY — Nevada's chief gambling regulator said Wednesday she's been encouraged by the input she's received from casino executives and workers as the state's Gaming Control Board considers rules addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Board Chairwoman Becky Harris said she's reviewing a revised draft of the proposed regulations and expects to circulate them for public comment "soon."

The drafting of regulations for harassment in the industry for the first time was spurred by the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding former casino owner Steve Wynn. He has denied the allegations against him.

Members of the union representing thousands of casino workers told the board in May the final regulations should address sexual harassment by guests and high-rollers as well as employees.

"We have — I think — an improved method for how sexual harassment claims might be reported to the board should those regulations be enacted," Harris said after the panel's regular monthly meeting Wednesday in Carson City.

"I don't have exact timing with regard to when the updated sexual harassment regulations will be circulated. I have a new draft and need to read it," she said.

The regulatory changes as written would apply to all licensees. The largest casino operators have previously said they meet many of the proposed criteria, which employment attorneys say are standard for most large corporations.

The move to adopt the regulations comes after the Wall Street Journal reported in January that several women said Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement. He resigned Feb. 6 as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.

Wynn has filed a defamation lawsuit against The Associated Press for its reporting on a separate allegation made to police.

Regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts are now investigating the allegations leveled against Wynn.

Harris said the Nevada regulatory board is in the "final stages" of its probe and remains on schedule to complete it within the next two months. But she would not comment on details, including the number of interviews conducted or documents reviewed.

"It is confidential," she said.

Wynn Resorts on Monday disclosed it has finished an internal investigation into the allegations. The company said it will share the findings with gambling regulators.

Harris said she's been pleased with the high interest the industry has shown in participating in the effort to implement sexual harassment regulations in the workplace. She said they plan at least one more workshop to gather input in southern Nevada and one in northern Nevada.

"We have some very supportive licensees who want to make sure that however the board chooses to handle this matter that it is done in a thoughtful, fair way," Harris said. "The licensees have really stepped up."

AP writer Regina Garcia Cano contributed to this report from Las Vegas.