Wynn Resorts gets Macau approval for Cotai strip casino project


wynn-resorts-macau-cotai-approvalWynn Resorts has received the blessing of the government in Macau for a land concession on the Cotai strip. On Tuesday afternoon, trading in Wynn Macau Ltd. shares was suspended to announce the company had received formal approval on a 51-acre land transfer, allowing Wynn to join competitors Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy Entertainment, which already have casino operations up and running on the former swamp turned goldmine. Sands recently opened Sands Cotai Central, its third Cotai property, while Galaxy just announced plans to double the size of its Galaxy Macau resort.

The Wynn announcement has been a long time in coming. Two months ago, trading in Wynn shares had to be halted after a Wynn underling mistakenly filed a document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission saying the company had already received the thumbs-up from Macau authorities. That erroneous filing stated the concession was for a 25-year period, which Tuesday’s announcement confirmed. In addition to a single $193.4m payment, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Wynn will pay rent of $1.08m per year once the estimated $3b facility is up and running. (Kinda puts your condo strata fee in perspective, huh?) Wynn supremo Steve Wynn (pictured right, having the single most important orgasm of his life) said the formal approval made possible “the commencement of the construction phase of what will be the single most important project in the history of Wynn Resorts.”

Wynn peeps estimate their new joint will open for business by 2016. The mischievous muckrakers at CasinoLeaks-Macau are wondering how many gaming tables the new Wynn establishment will feature. Macau has capped table games at 5,500 until 2013, after which it will permit only 3% annual growth. Problem is, Macau’s secretary for economy and finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen has promised Macau’s existing operators that they will all eventually get the nod to set up on Cotai. Previous estimates have put the number of new Wynn tables at 400. Add those to the 500 expected at the expanded Galaxy Macau, plus the tables at the Cotai operation planned by MGM Resorts… Even allowing for 3% growth, CasinoLeaks figures that by 2017 the total number of tables would be at least 500 over the government-mandated cap. And that’s before factoring in additional construction by SJM Holdings, Melco Crown and perhaps even another Sands venue. Like the song says, something’s gotta give…