The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced the appointment of Washington D.C.-based law firm Miller & Chevalier Chartered to serve as the Independent Monitor for Wynn MA, LLC, et al. During a public meeting at MGC’s Boston office, the five gaming commissioners voted unanimously to ratify the selection of the firm and authorize the execution of the contract.
In April 2019, the Commission issued a Decision and Order regarding Wynn’s suitability. As one of several conditions, the decision required the implementation of an independent monitor at the Company’s expense and with the Company’s full cooperation. In May 2019, the MGC issued a competitive Request for Response seeking to retain an independent monitor of Wynn MA, LLC, the holder of the Region A Category 1 gaming license, to mitigate the risk of recurrence of violations identified in the MGC’s written decision.
After a comprehensive procurement process, MGC’s internal procurement review team selected Miller & Chevalier to review and evaluate policies and organizational changes made by the Company. The review will focus primarily on the Massachusetts licensee and accomplish the following objectives:
•Ensure compliance with the priorities outlined in MGC’s written decision.
•Review the Company’s design, implementation, enforcement, and effectiveness of human resources policies and procedures, with particular attention to communications and trainings on those policies and procedures.
•Review the use of retractions, mandatory arbitrary provisions, gag orders, confidentiality clauses, and non-disparagement provisions.
•Evaluate and test the Company’s internal reporting and communication channels and ensure that the response and investigation of such reports are independent and impartial.
•Assess the selection and use of the Company’s outside counsel and ensure the maintenance of and adherence to de-conflicting policies and procedures.
Alejandra Montenegro Almonte, Miller & Chevalier team lead, said, “Our firm will approach these objectives through the lens of our decades of experience building compliance programs across industries and through our extensive monitorship expertise. The process will be grounded on three inter-related principles — independence, efficiency, and transparency.”
MGC Chair Cathy Judd- Stein stated, “The overall wellbeing, safety, and welfare of employees are a key metric of the gaming industry’s success here in the Commonwealth. A second but equally important metric is the importance of compliance and communication with the regulator. We believe that the team at Miller & Chevalier will ensure that the Company’s multitude of policy and organizational changes meet best practices.”
In May 2019, the MGC issued a notice of intent to post a Request for Response for the services of an independent monitor. The internal procurement review team met to discuss the parameters of the RFR and collaboratively drafted the request for responses to reflect the decision of the Commission. The team conducted a robust competitive bidding process that resulted in many high-quality responses. The team reviewed the responses and scored submissions based on relevant experience, diversity, cost, and quality and thoroughness.
Miller & Chevalier has estimated its fees for the first six months of monitorship will range from $575,000 to $775,000, based on an estimate of approximately 850 to 1,150 hours. This is only an estimate and will be subject to adjustment based on initial findings during monitoring activities. All monitoring fees will be paid for by the licensee.
Miller & Chevalier’s contract will be for a term of five years; however, it would be subject to early termination at the request of the gaming licensee, and at the Commission’s sole discretion after the initial three years.