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Raiders invite Steve Wynn to light torch before Sunday’s game

Updated September 24, 2021 - 9:13 pm

Controversial former casino mogul Steve Wynn has been asked to light the Al Davis Memorial Torch before Sunday’s Raiders game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium.

In a statement issued late Friday, the Raiders said Wynn “was one of the first to lend support and meet with Raiders Owner Mark Davis and was a champion of bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas.”

Wynn, 79, is recognized as a gaming industry visionary who brought an erupting volcano, a pirate ship and a choreographed ballet of dancing waters to the Strip. But he left the industry after a flood of accusations of sexual harassment and demanding sexual favors from and assaulting female hotel employees.

Wynn has denied every harassment allegation.

He resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. in February 2018, divested himself from his corporate investments within a month and moved from his home at the resort within two months.

In the aftermath of the scandal, the Nevada Gaming Commission fined Wynn Resorts $20 million, still a state record.

The company was punished for damaging the state’s reputation through a failure to investigate claims from at least eight women that they were sexually harassed in the workplace.

In Massachusetts, state officials demanded that Wynn’s name be removed from the 671-room luxury hotel being built in Everett. The $2.6 billion resort opened as Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019, but not before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined the company $35 million and CEO Matt Maddox $500,000, concluding that company executives failed to handle any inappropriate behavior properly.

Rare public appearance

It’s believed Sunday’s torch-lighting event will be Steve Wynn’s first public appearance in Las Vegas since he left Wynn Resorts.

He also is scheduled to give a keynote address for The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley Region, an economic development organization in Utica, New York, on Oct. 14.

Asked for a comment on that speech, Wynn replied through a representative, saying that “now that he is a private citizen, he no longer wants to be interviewed.”

A representative of Wynn Resorts declined to comment Friday night on Steve Wynn being invited to light the torch, a new pregame tradition at 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium.

Standing 93 feet tall, the torch on the north end of the stadium in front of the stadium’s lanai doors, has been a fan favorite during games and events. Lauded as the largest 3D-printed object in the world, the structure was created out of carbon fiber and aluminum.

The torch uses a mix of lights and fog to replicate a flame. Inside the torch’s base sits a 100-gallon tank that provides the water needed to create the fog.

The Raiders said the torch-lighting tradition began in 2011 in Oakland, with “many Raiders Alumni, celebrities and fans having had the privilege to light the torch before each home game.”

Former Raiders owner Al Davis died in 2011. The torch is a “tribute to Mr. Davis’ legacy as the Raiders’ long-time owner, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, AFL Coach of the Year (and) AFL Commissioner,” the team said in a statement.

Since construction began on the $2 billion stadium, the Raiders have carefully thanked public figures who have helped secure $750 million in public funds to build it.

Early backer

Wynn was among the gaming industry executives who traveled to Carson City for a special legislative session called by former Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval in October 2016.

“I have no right to speak for the NFL on or off the record,” Wynn said at the time before reassuring reporters that the required 24 of 32 owners would vote in favor of the relocation of the Raiders to Las Vegas. “(Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and (New England Patriots owner) Robert Kraft have told me the NFL is ready to do it. I personally believe if we lose this opportunity it will be one of the most heartbreaking mistakes we can ever make.”

This month, Sandoval lit the torch before the Raiders’ home opener against Baltimore. Last month at the Raiders’ preseason home opener, Dr. Miriam Adelson, the co-founder of the Adelson Family Foundation and widow of Sheldon Adelson, lit the torch.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. Review-Journal digital content producer Mark Davis contributed to this report.

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