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2017 Inside Asian Gaming Power 50: Number Five - Steve Wynn

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 13:27
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5 Steve Wynn

CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Wynn Resorts Ltd

CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Wynn Macau Ltd

POWER SCORE
3,375

LAST YEAR
5

CLAIMS TO FAME
• Pioneer of the integrated resort concept
• A visionary who helped reinvent Las Vegas as a destination
• Renowned for setting new standards in luxury, service and operational expertize
• Launched Macau’s most expensive IR, Wynn Palace, in 2016

Given the widespread uncertainty that still lingered over the Macau gaming market when Wynn Resorts opened its US$4.2 billion Wynn Palace in August 2016, it stands to reason that Steve Wynn is feeling a whole lot better about life as 2017 draws to a close.

Riding high on the wave of Macau’s surprisingly strong recovery – itself led by the VIP segment in which Wynn has traditionally shone – the company has seen revenues steadily climbing over the past year including a 47.9% surge in the first quarter to US$1.48 billion, 44.5% in the second quarter to US$1.53 billion and 45.3% in the third to US$1.61 billion.

Of course, the addition of Wynn Palace was the driving force behind the uptick with Macau now contributing around 70% of all Wynn Resorts revenues. But the quicker-than-expected ramp-up of Wynn Palace has impressed analysts, even while its sister property on Macau’s Peninsula struggles to maintain similar momentum.

Commenting on the company’s most recent 3Q17 results announcement, which saw Wynn Palace contribute revenues of US$555.3 million, Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen said, “Having delivered $138mm in EBITDA, Wynn Palace continues to ramp nicely with all segments demonstrating notable sequential improvement and the greatest strides in VIP and premium mass.

“We expect growth at the high-end to continue … as well as in terms of premium mass with a greater number of hotel rooms being allocated to these players who are also driven, in part, by the flight to quality dynamic.”

Mr Wynn himself has long maintained that Wynn Palace won’t fully realize its potential until at least 2019 due to major construction works nearby that has impacted access. Those works include SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace which is scheduled to open in 2019, the light rail system around the same time and MGM Cotai, whose doors will open in January 2018.

“All of this has constrained the traffic flow into the Palace,” he repeated during the company’s recent earnings call. “You can look at this two ways. You could say it’s been a tough break for us to have to live with this in our first year of operation or you could say we’re doing very well.

“And it portends to be an even better result as our neighbors get up and running and we have the benefit of their connections.”

The big unknown for now is Japan. Perhaps the most intriguing of all international contenders for a Japan casino license, it has been suggested that the company’s history with controversial Japanese gaming mogul Kazuo Okada might deter nervous local lawmakers.

Then again, any proposed IR in Japan is expected to be luxury at its finest – and few can match Wynn in that regard.

To return to the full list of 2017 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.

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