Steve Wynn is in a dilemma after the Philippines ramped up their mud slinging against the casino business mogul. The House committee on games and amusement approved a proposal by Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone and Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez to ban Wynn opening a venue in the country, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was in the same hearing that Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. strenuously denied corruption charges. He told the inquiry that he had done “nothing wrong,” adding: “I am proud to say that since I started serving as Pagcor chair, I have not strayed away from the straight path that our President is leading us to. I promise that I will follow this as long as I am in service.”
Lawmakers were reacting in the aftermath of the bitch-fight between Wynn and former majority-shareholder Kazuo Okada that has seen the country dragged through the dirt. The representative chairing the meeting, Amado Bagatsing, is particularly unhappy at the way Wynn has acted and sees no problem in Naguiat’s hotel stays.
“We are falling into the trap, machinations of Mr. Steve Wynn whose main objective is to oust Okada from his casino firm. What Wynn did is a direct affront to our country and its officials,” he said. “There’s nothing to it (the accommodations). However, I will take offense if chair Naguiat is booked in a cheap $40 room because that will indicate how small they regard a Filipino official.”
To compound Wynn’s woes there is a mounting tide of opinion that Macau’s burgeoning junket industry will turn its back on his venue. It comes after the firm released the names of some VIPs. Asia gaming industry expert Ben Lee stating that by exposing the names of high rollers: “It appears they have breached their own security policy, not because of a government request but for the purpose of an internal shareholders’ dispute.”
Lee added that the effect this has on Wynn earnings are “isolated at this stage” and much “depends on what they do on the next few weeks.” Wynn’s decision to anger those in the Philippines could now mean the company’s actions limited in two destinations on the gambling industry’s largest continent.