Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts has been ordered to pay more than $3 million in back taxes for allegedly breaking state law by using a digital currency, which the casino said was not “real” money.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to impose a fine of up to $5,000 on Wynn.
The board, which is headed by Republican Gov.
Brian Sandoval, ordered Wynn to pay $2.5 million in taxes.
The board, in a report, said the state’s Gaming Enforcement Division found that the Nevada Gaming Commission, a division of the state Department of Taxation and Finance, failed to properly assess the tax for gaming in a way that would have prevented Wynn from breaking the law.
Wynn Resort, which has about 3,400 employees, operates the Wynn Grand, a casino on the Las Vegas Strip that’s about the size of the Omni Las Vegas and has hosted such events as the Super Bowl, Miss Universe and the Oscars.
The company says it operates the gaming facility to serve patrons of the Las Venetian and other nearby properties.
In 2016, the Las Cruces Star-Telegram reported that Wynn was illegally using a virtual currency, or cryptocurrency, to conduct online gambling.
The company claimed that the currency was created and issued by a third party and that it was not money in any physical form.
Winns gaming operations were first detected in 2016 when the paper reported that the company was using the cryptocurrency to make in-person and online casino games, including the World Series of Poker.
A federal investigation into the use of virtual currency began in 2017.
In a statement Wednesday, Wynn said it is “deeply disappointed with the decision” by the state Gaming Enforcement Board.
It added that Wynns gaming operations are “legal and regulated.”
Wynns spokesman Chris Smith said the company will appeal the board’s decision.