62°F
weather icon Overcast

Singapore success on Wynn’s radar

It took awhile, but Singapore finally caught the attention of Steve Wynn.

It’s hard not to notice the tiny island-nation.

Singapore’s two casinos are poised to pass Las Vegas as the world’s No. 2 gaming destination less than two years after gaming began.

If you want further proof, just look at the results posted by Marina Bay Sands in the second quarter.

Last week, parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp. said its 2,560-room Singapore hotel-casino recorded $405 million in property cash flow — reported as earnings before taxes and other expenses — between April and June. That single quarter is more cash flow than what the company expects to collect from its two Strip resorts in all of 2011.

No wonder Wynn wants a piece of the action.

“Naturally, anybody would be interested in Singapore,” Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd., said July 18 during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call. “It’s such a great place to be in business. It’s easy to say that Singapore is exciting.”

There are two issues, however, that will keep Wynn on the sidelines.

One matter is Singapore’s exclusivity agreement with Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia-based Genting, which operates Resorts World Sentosa. The market is capped at two casinos until 2017.

The other concern covers Wynn’s comments about Singapore in 2005. Wynn insulted the government when he became disenchanted with its casino operator selection process. His words haven’t been forgotten.

Wynn Resorts was among 14 bidders for Singapore’s two casino developments. Wynn didn’t like some of the advice he was getting from Singapore’s government. He suggested authorities were micromanaging the process.

Wynn said at the time the “control and direction” offered by Singapore tourism leaders was “unsophisticated” from “people who have never done this before.”

After Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong publicly rebuffed Wynn’s remarks, the company withdrew from the bidding process, saying it would concentrate on projects in Macau.

Maybe time heals all wounds.

Loong, who is still prime minister, pushed for Singapore to add casinos as a way to increase visitation. The idea has been a model of success. Tourism figures grew 20 percent in 2010 and the market shows no signs of slowing.

Royal Bank of Scotland gaming analyst Phillip Tulk told MarketWatch.com recently that Singapore gaming revenues would increase by 25 percent this year, to $6.4 billion. Last year, Strip gaming revenues were $5.8 billion.

No wonder Wynn has changed his tune.

In June, he told the Singapore Business Times that he was “dying” to enter the market.

“That’s the next goal in life (is) to build a hotel in Singapore,” Wynn said.

He tempered his remarks during the earnings call when faced with the reality that it could be five years before expansion is even considered.

“If we were ever given the chance to be a business in Singapore, we’d be thrilled and delighted to bring our best work there,” Wynn said. “But that’s not a decision for us to make.”

It’s unclear whether Singapore would even expand its casino market beyond the two properties. Adding gaming in 2005 was met with resistance. The government mandated that casinos remain a small portion of the entire integrated resort.

The Marina Bay Sands has more than
1 million square feet of retail and 1.2 million square feet of convention and meeting space.

No one, however, anticipated the gaming revenue explosion. More than two-thirds of two resorts’ total revenues are directly from gaming.

“The government and the tourism board don’t blatantly promote the casinos, but (they are) attracting the audience,” Aaron Hung, a professor with Singapore’s Management University, told MarketWatch.com.

The Marina Bay Sands’ performance was much discussed during Las Vegas Sands’ quarterly earnings conference call last week. Company Chairman Sheldon Adelson hinted that Singapore’s limited hotel capacity might be the only hindrance that could slow the market’s growth.

Here’s an idea: Maybe Wynn could build a nongaming hotel in Singapore that could feed business to the Marina Bay Sands?

After all, Wynn and Adelson are new-found BFFs, having recently dined together with their wives.

For now, this solution might be Wynn’s only entrance into the gaming industry’s latest boomtown.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. He can be reached at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. He blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/stutz. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Caesars new CEO appears to be in for the long term

Based on the terms of Tony Rodio’s employment agreement disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, he appears to be in for the long term with a $1.5 million annual salary, prospective bonus payments of $3 million, as well as a $3 million buyout clause. This doesn’t look like the pathway to a quickee company sale.