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Wynn plans ‘ultimate’ hotel for Cotai

Nov 6, 2007 5:51 AM

    Steve Wynn has been flashing his well-known fluency in the art of "developer-speak" as he looks toward a future half a world away from Las Vegas that will put a spotlight on just a few good developments.

    He’s finally ready to say a little — very little — about his plans for developing fifty-something acres on Cotai, that landfill area between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, a short distance from downtown Macau.

    What he says is this: "We intend to build the most beautiful hotel on earth on Cotai."

    Most of the details will come later since the design is still taking shape, but it will be an all-suite villa hotel of 1,500 to 2,000 units with the smallest unit measuring about a thousand square feet.

    All the better to satisfy the highest end of the Asian market, which like similar customers filling his Las Vegas resort from other markets, appears to remain "deliciously immune" to the bruising economic trends that have put a serious squeeze on the discretionary spending of ordinary bankrolls.

    This is a marketing strategy that, according to Wynn, puts his current Macau property "well on the way to becoming the most profitable hotel in Macau."

    This approach to business has dimmed Wynn’s interest in the talk of joint ventures that once seemed to fill his thinking.

    "This hotel on Cotai is going to be the thing everyone wants to copy," he gushes. "It will be something that is the result of forty-odd years of experience in this business."

    Which is the kind of thing he was also saying a couple years ago as he prepared for the opening of Wynn Las Vegas.

Blame the slots

    Blame it on all those people playing slots in Pennsylvania.

    That’s how the bosses at Trump Resorts explain the slump in recent earnings at the company’s Atlantic City Marina.

    Trump CEO Mark Juliano refers to an "unprecedented new wave of competition" when he talks about the continuing pressures faced by all Atlantic City casinos.

    But some have done better than others. The Trump Taj Mahal and Plaza showed a combined increase of 12 percent in third quarter earnings despite dips in revenue.

    In the case of the Marina which was "seriously impacted" during the same period, Juliano speculates that the downturn in gaming volumes probably has had a lot to do with the fact that the Marina has been particularly appealing to the "suburban day-tripper" who suddenly has more convenient alternatives in those Pennsylvania slots.

    And guess what? A gambler can also smoke while he plays slot machines, but Juliano and other Atlantic City gaming executives are rooting for the moment — it may come next year, he speculates — when smoking in areas such as Pennsylvania casinos will also become illegal as it now is in much of the Atlantic City casino space.

    Juliano makes it clear that the future for Atlantic City looks good despite the reality of current pressures on business.

    "We are enthusiastic about Atlantic City as it continues its evolution to a destination resort ”¦ Our facilities are in better condition now than they have been in quite some time."

    The company continues to prioritize its capital spending, its strategists believing, as Juliano puts it, "that the building of hotel rooms is the best long term plan for driving incremental revenues and profits."

 Tropicana owner
comes under fire

    Columbia Sussex can expect to be raked over some hot coals this month as the owner of the Tropicana goes before the New Jersey casino Control Commission for a suitability review.

    A well-connected source in Atlantic City said the company will probably take it on the chin for operations strategies that have seen hundreds of Tropicana workers lose their jobs as revenues have also plummeted, according to state reports.

    But when all is said and done, it is expected the company will probably once again be found suitable to continue at the Tropicana. Look for Las Vegas labor leaders to be paying close attention to the Atlantic City hearing which is set for about Nov. 20.