Wynn Calls Macau's Bluff With New $4 Bln Resort
By ?arah Mast??
M?CAU, Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. casino tycoon St?ve Wynn's newest pleasure pal?ce in Macau boasts massiv? dancing fountains but the Chinese territory is anything but bubbly as it prepares to welcome the $4 billion resort to its struggling glitter strip next week.
Macau's most expensive casino yet ?s due to o?en on Monday a month ahead of a $3 bill?on gaming x 1060 resort by U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson, marking the b?g?nning of the end of a boom in grandios? casino construction that helped transform the form?r Port?guese colony into the gambling capital of the wo?ld.
But t?e properties - featuring thousands of hotel ro?ms, an aer?a? g?ndola and a miniature of the Eiffel Tow?r wbks gaming#07 - hc mixmode 64 - allmaps 200 t/fastspawnfly are opening as Macau ?ambling revenues languish at 5-ye?r lows and a corruption crackdown forces Chinese high-rollers to play in r?v?l Asian destinations.
Wynn declined to say how long it would take to break even on the investment a? he addressed reporters at a pre-opening event in Macau on ?ednesday, but empha?ised th?s w?uld b? a di?ersified resort with gambl?ng merely ?eing one attr?ct??n.
"In every business there are good years and bad years. For our return on investment I expect we will be fine," he sa?d.
"What we are seeing now is a more normalised kind of market."
Casino ?os?es li?e Wynn are bett?ng the new resorts on the Cot?i strip will breathe life back into Macau, which generates five times more gambling rev?nue than Las Vegas.
Analysts however w?rn that additional su?ply coul? increase competit??n at ? time ?hen operators are ?lready offering discounts to lure patrons.
"If they (Wynn) had known they definitely would not have spent $4 billion, they probably would have spent something like $1 billion," Nomura analyst R?chard Huang said in Hong Kong.
?ynn Macau's newest property, W?nn Pa?ace, wo?ld be profitab?e, Huang said, but it would likely generate a disappointing return on investment. With hindsight, it was clear that the operators, particularl? Wynn, miscalc?lated their ?xpansion du?ing the ?oom years, he added.
KOONS AND KITSCH
Be?ides the usual constellation of luxury stores, the new res?rt i? festooned with $100-150 million worth of art including a $35 million Jeff Koons "tulip" sculpture and a quartet of $15 million antiq?e Chinese vases.
Planned several years ago w?en soaring revenues seemed unstoppable, th? proj?cts initially budgeted for earnings ?bout four tim?s bigger than what is currently being gener?ted.
Macau is the only plac? in China where gambling in casinos is legal b?t demand from wealthy patrons has ?lummeted over the ?ast two ye?rs due to Beijing'? crac?down on graft and China's slowing economy. Regional rival? like the Philippines and V?etnam ?ave sought to capitalise on the situation b? luring Chinese gam?lers to their own casino hubs.
New openings from Me?co Crown and Galaxy Entertainm?nt last year have not significantly bolstered receipts, while operat?rs are being fr??trated by strict official l?mits on gaming table allocations.
Wynn Macau's s?are pr?ce tumbled ?fter it confirmed it had recei?ed only a third of the gaming tables it had requested, as the government tries to wean itself off gaming revenues and re-brand Maca? as a more mass-mar?et d?stination.
?ynn Palace and Adels?n's Parisian resort, ?ue to open on Sept. 13, will add close to 5,000 hot?l rooms. MG? China, , SJM Holdings and The 13 ?olding are also set to open mu?tibillion resorts in the next two years.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Stephen Coate?)
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