Wynn's Macau resort to cost $4 billion; shrugs off VIP slowdown fears

Tue Jun 5, 2012 2:54am EDT
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By Farah Master

MACAU (Reuters) - U.S. casino magnate Steve Wynn said on Tuesday that Wynn Macau Ltd's latest casino resort in the former Portuguese enclave would cost $4 billion, as the company bets on continued growth in the world's largest gambling destination.

In a media briefing at his Macau casino, the 70-year-old chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd and Wynn Macau also expressed confidence that the property would provide a return on investment despite the current economic climate.

"Growth of the market has been so spectacular, the expansion so dramatic, it is unrealistic for it to continue at that rate," Wynn said, though he added that the market did not need to keep increasing at such a pace for it to be a good place to do business.

Macau, located on the tip of China's southern coast, has been a goldmine for casino operators, raking in more than five times the revenue that Vegas does as mainland visitors flock to the only Chinese city where they can casino-gamble legally.

But data showed last week that gambling revenue growth in Macau had slowed to 7.3 percent in May. That was its slowest expansion rate since July 2009 and a far cry from the 70-90 percent monthly growth rates seen in 2010, although total revenue was still the second highest for a single month.

Wynn shrugged off concerns of a slowdown in the VIP sector, which relies heavily on the availability of liquidity extended to wealthy gamblers.

"There has been an increase in capacity of VIP and I am not sure if the picture is clear of a marked slowdown. The market is still growing and I think it will continue to grow," he said.

Macroeconomic risks in China, including easing economic growth, have sparked fears of a slowdown in the number of cash-rich Chinese travelling to gamble in Macau.   Continued...

Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks at a panel discussion "CEO Conversation: Past, Present and Future of Las Vegas With Steve Wynn" at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills,California April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser