Wynn Settles Tip Dispute In Court

In late March, a US District Court presided over a decades-long policy held by Wynn for its table game dealers, which former employees considered unfair. The issue was primarily between Wynn and its table dealers, an issue which was advocated by the workers’ union, UAW Local 3555. This is just the latest hurdle for Wynn CEO Matt Maddox to jump following the troublesome legacy of the company’s founder and namesake, Steve Wynn.

A house of cards.

Almost 1,000 past and present employees of Wynn sued the company for an unfavorable tip policy. ©matthewsjackie/Pixabay

A 2006 Policy Saps Tips From Dealers

According to reports about the March 2021 decision, former CEO and Wynn co-founder Steve Wynn implemented a policy in 2006 which had ripple effects for decades. The rule meant that table dealers in Wynn casinos would share their tips with dealer supervisors, an unusual policy which reportedly drained tip revenue for individual dealers.

Creating Additional Positions And Minimizing Tips For Dealers

In the 2006 policy, Steve Wynn replaced traditional casino floor supervisors and pit bosses with team leads. According to coverage about the court decision, the rule came a year after the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, when the casino was flush with high-rolling gamblers who tipped their dealers generously.

As such, Wynn grew concerned that table dealers were out-earning their supervisors by a significant amount. The new rule was implemented to continue to encourage Wynn dealers to seek promotion, something that was less likely to happen if supervisors earned as much, or less than, well-tipped table dealers.

According To Some, Fortunes Lost

According to one witness for the prosecution in 2018, a single dealer believed that she could have lost as much as $100,000 in tips in the 15 years since the rule had been put into place. As such, the ruling will allow for close to 1,000 past and present employees of Wynn to receive a collective settlement of $5.6 million.

The Settlement

The deal means that the defense will pay attorney fees of close to $1.5 million, plus an additional $10,000 for litigation and additional fees. Finally, $10,000 each will be paid to the prosecutors in the initial two cases against Wynn, Joseph Cesarz and Quy Ngoc Tang. A remaining $4,170 will be paid out to each of the almost 1,000 additional dealers involved.

In this lawsuit — which is considered a class action lawsuit — the dealers involved will have the option to accept or reject the settlement. Should they reject the settlement, they have the option of going back to court and filing their own lawsuits. It is unclear if any dealers will choose to take up the court on this offer, though unlikely.

Not The First Time The Issue Has Gone To Court

The decision, announced in late March of 2021, had been a long time coming. Disgruntled current and former employees of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore had filed lawsuits against the company for its policy in 2013 and 2018. According to the prosecution, dealers at Wynn casinos could stand to recoup as much as a collective $50 million in unpaid tips.

Wynn’s Replacement Had Sought To Remedy The Issue

When Matt Maddox replaced Steve Wynn as the company’s CEO following multiple unforgiving allegations of sexual assault perpetrated by the corporation’s co-founder, he quickly sought to fix the issue. Two months into his tenure as CEO, Maddox raised the hourly pay of table dealers by $2 an hour — their first such raise in more than 10 years.

Workers Say It’s Not Enough

Despite the hourly raise, which equaled an annual raise of about $4,000 for dealers, workers still took umbrage at Maddox’s replacement policy, which continued to mandate that dealers would have to share 12% of their pooled tips with the team leads. A dispute over the definition of the dubious team lead position followed.

A Policy Unlike Those At Any Other Casino In Vegas

One of the most central arguments made by the dealers in the Wynn case was that no other casino on the Strip forced dealers to share their tips with any other casino employees. While a tip pool for dealers may be common, factoring supervisors — or team leads — into that equation was otherwise not being done.

With Maddox At The Helm, Wynn Is Repairing Legacy

In the years since Matt Maddox took over Wynn, he’s been keeping busy repairing the legacy his predecessor left behind. One of the most central ways that Maddox is keeping Wynn afloat and in the good graces of the public is through the location’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic: first as a testing site, then as a vaccination site.

Meanwhile, Nevada Seeks To Ban Steve Wynn

As Maddox works to repair Wynn’s public image, the company’s co-founder, Steve Wynn, finds himself in the unenviable position of Las Vegas outcast. In November of 2020, Nevada state regulators considered banning the entrepreneur from conducting any more business in the state ever again. A local judge ruled that the regulator did not have that authority.

Wynn Isn’t The Only Vegas Casino Dealing With The Law

America is a litigious country, and as such, Wynn is far from the only leading casino and resort company in the US — or even in Las Vegas — to be embroiled in ongoing legal conflict. In fact, competing resort-casino brand MGM Resorts International has had significant back-to-back lawsuits ongoing for dramatically different reasons.

MGM’s Legal Woes

In 2020, MGM was faced with two significant lawsuits: the first, filed in late February, took issue with a major security breach which took place in the summer of 2019. During that time, online hackers managed to access important and sensitive personal data of millions of MGM customers, including FBI officials, celebrities, and reporters.

Inevitably, one of those customers in question filed a lawsuit against the company. Only a number of months later, in September 2020, an attorney submitted the paperwork on behalf of hundreds suing MGM for a devastating 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where 60 people were killed and more than 410 injured.

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