Steve Wynn provides showstopper in quarterly earnings call

Updated October 28, 2017 - 3:26 pm

The Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas once had a production show called “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers,” which closed in 2016.

Wynn had a showstopper of his own last week when he had a captive audience of analysts and investors tuned in for a quarterly earnings call and instead detailed new plans for what has been known as his Paradise Park project.

The project isn’t just a blue lagoon anymore. It’s a full-fledged new hotel in a 47-story tower.

Listeners hoping to get some clues about company finances might have been disappointed, but Las Vegans interested in Wynn’s next burst of creativity were rewarded.

“Hello. You’ve seen the numbers, and they speak for themselves,” Wynn said before launching into a couple of minutes of commentary about Wynn Las Vegas having the best third quarter in its existence and some remarks about the destruction brought upon Macau by Typhoon Hato.

As he has done in recent earnings calls, Wynn talked a little about how construction sites are hurting operations at Wynn Palace just off the Cotai Strip in Macau.

When he quickly bolted into Q&A, the call operator didn’t see it coming and temporarily stranded executives without a moderator.

Ah, the nuances of the quarterly earnings call. Some use it as a way to explain the events that affected a company’s financial performance over the past three months.

Some have used it as a political platform.

Some, like Wynn, have used it for surprising announcements like this new Carnivale concept on the Strip.

We’re in the midst of earnings season, and while some say earnings reports can be the purest snapshot of a company’s profits and losses, others see it as an opportunity for executives to make excuses about what could have been.

For the casino industry, there was more calamity than usual in the third quarter for many companies, some of which already was reported last week.

Hurricane Harvey slammed Houston, affecting Boyd Gaming’s operations in Louisiana. Hurricane Irma’s turmoil in Florida created havoc for important-to-Las Vegas transportation providers Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Travel Co. Even mostly forgotten Hurricane Nate will play a role in Penn National’s fourth-quarter earnings after a two-day shutdown of Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos on what was supposed to be a busy weekend.

Caesars Entertainment, feeling rejuvenated by its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, might have felt some of Harvey’s wrath.

On the other side of the world, Typhoon Hato did some financial damage to Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, but Sands took its earnings call opportunity to announce a new look for its Cotai Strip development by turning a hotel complex into The Londoner, a themed resort to join the likes of Venetian Macao and Parisian Macao.

But the earnings call that might bear the most interest, at least for Las Vegans, occurs Nov. 8 when MGM Resorts International reports.

What will executives have to say about the tragic Oct. 1 shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds? What can they say?

With concern about lawsuits and liability, there is very little CEO Jim Murren will be able to talk about, but there probably will be above-average interest in this earnings call.

Typhoon Hato has already provided a few headlines for MGM, which pushed back the opening of its new Cotai Strip resort into 2018.

But the #VegasStrong reaction to the shooting has been on everyone’s mind for nearly a month.

Maybe we’ll be surprised with some news the way Steve Wynn surprised everybody last week.

No doubt, we’ll all be glued to our terminals.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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