Wynn retains upbeat attitude about Macau but ...

Oct 15, 2015 4:17 PM

Steve Wynn’s long-term view of the casino business in Macau remains positive, but it is the short-term view that provides a bewildering mystery, the Wynn Resorts CEO said Thursday during a discussion of the company’s third quarter business.

Wynn made no attempt to downplay his frustration with the government’s cap on the number of gaming tables available to new Macau casinos that are the product of billions of dollars in spending.

Wynn said the companies investing billions in new resorts are happy to create the nongaming attractions that the government has mandate but to limit the number of gaming tables is “preposterous... It is the casino, the gaming that makes all the nongaming stuff possible. The casino is the cash register.”

The big new facilities going up along Macau’s Cotai Strip can’t get the job done, he argued with a limit of 150-200 tables. “You need 400 or 500.”

“We could never have created the widely diversified facilities that exist in Las Vegas,” he added, “if the local government had tried to tell us how many tables we could have.”

That this policy should exist in Macau, he grumbled, makes no sense to any of the company’s, including his own, which are doing the big spending that has the aim of turning Macau into a five-star kind of travel destination.

Referring to the upcoming opening Oct. 27 of the Melco resort . Wynn said it is impossible for him to understand why this company that has spent $2.5 billion on its new property does not know how many tables the government will allow until just a few weeks before its opening.

“It is so preposterous.”

The thought processes that go into this kind of strategy on the government’s part is the “single most counter intuitive, irrational” example of thinking, Wynn said. “We are bewildered at the situation we find ourselves in.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].