Sharon Harris explores the ins and outs of harassment and the conversational trends at trade shows…

Another G2E has come and gone, marking my 27th gaming expo since 1992. Every year, it seems one or two topics dominate conversation on the exhibit floor and seminar sessions. This year, sports betting again took center stage, but what a difference a year made.

Every sports betting discussion in 2017 pretty much asked the same question, but with a different angle. “What if this happens, or what if that happens” was the main theme. When the Supreme Court granted states the right to legalize sports betting last May, the emphasis changed.

However, all is not rosy and there was plenty of disagreement as to its implementation. Read my G2E report in this issue to understand the contentiousness among some interest groups or stakeholders.

The four-day education roster did include other topics like sexual harassment, marketing and tribal issues. Last May, I wrote about sexual harassment in my column in response to Steve Wynn’s downfall from sexual misconduct accusations.

Wynn, the most high-profile gaming executive facing these accusations, supposedly paid a $7.5 million settlement to a manicurist. Although Wynn vehemently denied everything, his reputation was still destroyed. He resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts and chief fundraiser for the Republican National Committee.Wynn has never gone to trial for these allegations.

The Wynn name disappeared from his sponsored college scholarships and casino properties under construction. Opening in 2019, the Wynn Boston Harbor is now Encore – architecturally identical to the Las Vegas property. Wynn CEO Matthew Maddox described a corporate decision that the welfare of the company’s 25,000 employees supersedes one person, even if it is the founder.

I understood the volatility of this issue and believed it relevant for a comprehensive report over the summer. Wrong…only a few people would even speak with me. The few sources I did secure were not enough to make it worthwhile at the time.

Casino InternationalEditor Jon Bruford and I agreed to postpone the feature until after the G2E. We hoped I could possibly gather additional contacts and information.

Then came the explosive Judge Brett Kavanaugh US Supreme Court Senate hearings in September. The circus-like atmosphere played out internationally as the ultimate “she said-he said” situation.

Going back 36 years, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford charged that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her in an upstairs bedroom during a house party. Both were teenagers.

Two other quick accusers were almost immediately debunked by her own named witness who claimed ignorance of anything. Television stations reported on almost nothing else for weeks, but now the Department of Justice may be investigating the sleazy attorney for accuser number three.

Charges against them both could be conspiracy to give false testimony and attempting to obstruct a congressional investigation. This guy is also facing financial ruin for prior frauds and office eviction for not paying the rent. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

Apparently, Blasey Ford never told anyone until 2012 and her few named corroborating witnesses could not vouch for her recollection. Kavanaugh’s own witnesses refuted not only Ford’s descriptions, but also any others’ stories.

Millions took sides. Women and men supporting Ford screamed that “her truth” was “credible and compelling” and that all women should be believed. Even Hawaii’s senator Mazie Horano – a lawyer herself – publicly told men to “shut up and step up” to get out of the way. After all, this is the 2018 #metoo women’s era.

Conversely, millions of women and men supporting Kavanaugh were appalled by the assumption of guilt when all the corroboration was on his side. Supporters took up the battle cry against dismantling America’s basic judicial premise that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” which Kavanaugh never was.

He had decades of judicial experience, a teaching history at Harvard Law School, seven FBI background checks and hundreds of named recommendations.

This public national argument made me realize the feature was dead – at least for now – butJon and I are already starting to formulate an alternative Plan B or C. I’ll keep you posted because I want to provide authentic news and suggestions, not sensationalist smut.

To learn more, I attended the “Sexual Harassment: Recognizing a Problem and What to do Next” seminar. The three speakers came from three different positions, with diverse perspectives, and kept their discussion general instead of specific.

Here’s a few unexpected facts I learned:

  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” harassment definition or perpetrator because harassment does not always mean men abusing women.
  • Harassment can just as easily be women on women, women on men or men on men.
  • Everyone prefers a speedy resolution because time dulls memories and loyalties.

Every charge should be thoroughly investigated. Also, no one should believe all allegations since some accusers could have hidden agendas.

The courts are full of people thinking they are right. My husband Norman, who practiced trial law for decades and also served as a municipal judge, cites multiple stories of clients wrongfully accused and then acquitted. He claims others had the charges dropped when the accusers never appeared in court. Still others financially settled, despite insisting on their innocence, to avoid damaging publicity against their careers and families.

Want to know more about G2E? Read my report. It includes sports betting and tribal news from the expo, interspersed with my colleagues’ contributions.