Thursday, October 15, 2015

Steve Wynn Frustrated by Macau Tables

Today's Wynn Resorts earnings call was particularly interesting with a frustrated Steve Wynn on the line. The reason for Steve's frustration: the government in Macau.

Macanese gaming regulators set the number of tables a casino is allowed to have. With the government seeking to de-emphasize gaming in favor of non-gaming activities they have been stingy with the amount of tables they are willing to license.

The brand new Studio City development by Melco Crown recently was only granted half of the tables they had asked for, and that decision was made a mere two weeks before the property is set to open on October 27, 2015.

Wynn was not happy about this, as it doesn't bode well for his upcoming Wynn Palace opening March 25, 2016. Aside from the prospect of having less tables, not knowing how many they're going to have makes staffing decisions almost impossible.

When speaking about the government's policy of allowing less tables Steve shouted, "The damn casino is the cash register!" That prompted one analyst to thank him for being "refreshingly frank."

Steve Wynn unlike other CEO's likes to speak freely about the issues of the day without worrying about what people will think. One exception though is China.

Wynn usually chooses his words about the Chinese government very carefully without questioning them. He seems to be getting away from that strategy though and if today's call is any indication he's now willing to let the government know exactly what he thinks.