International diplomacy, Steve Wynn style

It’s a good thing Wynn Resorts Ltd. elected the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to China to its board of directors last week.

The company needs some diplomacy to repair the damages after Steve Wynn’s hourlong tirade against Macau gaming regulators on a conference call with analysts.

“I don’t know that this has been the most satisfying quarterly phone call we’ve ever had, but at least it’s the most candid and the most honest one that we could possibly give everybody,” Wynn said at its conclusion.

He blasted the limits that Macau gaming regulators have placed on the number of table games properties are allowed to operate. In addition, Wynn criticized the government’s delay in disclosing how many tables will be awarded to the $4.1 billion Wynn Palace, which opens at the end of March.

Wynn described the process as “outrageous,” “ridiculous,” and “preposterous.”

On Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Wynn Macau executives were summoned for a meeting Sunday with government officials.

Sounds like fun.

The outcome, according to a statement from the Macau government, was that authorities have “no plan to make any changes.” And, the government demands a “clear understanding and full compliance” from the Macau casino industry.

In April, Steve Wynn described Wynn Palace as “quite simply the most extravagant and beautiful hotel in the world.” The 1,700-room resort will feature an 8-acre performance lake and air-conditioned sky-gondolas to ferry customers over the water feature into the resort.

Wynn Palace’s casino was designed to house 500 gaming tables. After last week earnings call, Macau might grant the property a baker’s dozen.

For all his bombast, the 73-year-old Wynn was correct about the Macau government’s table game limits, which he called “the single most counter-intuitive and irrational decision that was ever made.”

Other Macau casino operators received less than half the number of table games requested when opening new resorts. On Tuesday, Studio City — which opens next week — was told it would receive 200 table games initially and another 50 after January. Melco, which operates Studio City, wanted 400 tables.

Because Macau won’t tell Wynn how many tables Wynn Palace can operate, the company has no idea the number of casino floor personnel to hire.

“If you wanted to undermine and scuttle the viability of that industry, you put in table caps,” Wynn said. “I don’t understand it in terms of anything in my 45 years of experience.”

Contentious might be an understatement in describing the conference call. Wynn’s voice raised to octaves not normally heard on the usually relaxed question and answer sessions.

Twice, his dogs could be heard barking in the background. But Wynn was so focused on his comments, that he never tried to silence them. His subordinates were hesitant to respond to the remarks. One analyst never asked a question when called upon.

“Thank you for being refreshingly frank here,” Nomura Securities gaming analyst Harry Curtis told Wynn.

A day after Wynn’s conference call, shares of the company’s stock fell 1 percent on the Nasdaq. The shares fell another 6 percent on Monday and 1.95 percent Tuesday.

“We believe one can reasonably argue that management’s frank tone of increasing frustration regarding Macau policy uncertainty was meant to send a message to policymakers in both Macau and Beijing that the industry needs support,” said J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff.

But did it work?

Macau is in a tailspin. The market has experienced 16 straight months of declining gaming revenue, primarily due to the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption that ensnared operators of junket businesses tasked with bringing high-end gamblers to Macau casinos’ private gambling salons.

“We are not totally certain the Macau gaming market is fully on a path toward recovery and believe there could be additional near-term pain, particularly within the VIP business,” Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski told investors.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government indicated it would help boost Macau’s economy but didn’t offer any details.

“I think it’s time for them to put their actions where the rhetoric is but the rhetoric won’t solve the problem,” Wynn said.

Clark T. “Sandy” Randt Jr., joined the Wynn board last week. His company advises firms with interests in China. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to China from 2001 to 2009. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was the partner in an international law firm that oversaw the business’s China practice from Hong Kong.

Randt better be ready to hit the ground running.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at or 702-477-3871. Find on Twitter: @howardstutz

A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like