Wynn Says Macau Concludes Probe Into Cotai Land DealVinicy Chan
Macau’s anti-corruption agency is satisfied with its probe into a local land deal by Wynn Resorts Ltd. and has ended its investigation, the casino operator’s billionaire Chairman Steve Wynn said.
“It’s totally mundane, irrelevant,” Wynn told reporters yesterday when asked about the investigation into the deal, after giving a speech to students at a local university. “Everything about the transaction is crystal clear.”
Wynn Resorts, based in Las Vegas, said in July it’s cooperating with the government agency on inquiries into the land purchase for the company’s new casino resort on the city’s Cotai Strip. The Macau Business newspaper reported July 11 the agency is investigating why Wynn Resorts was made to pay 400 million patacas ($50 million) for the land rights.
The new Macau resort, called Wynn Palace, is on track to open in the spring of 2016, Wynn said. Growth in the world’s biggest gambling hub will shrug off the current slump in gaming revenue, according to Wynn.
Gross gaming revenue in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, fell a third straight month in August as China’s anti-graft campaign prompted high-rollers to avoid its gambling halls, hurting casinos’ earnings including at Wynn Macau Ltd., a unit of Wynn Resorts.
The slump in Macau casinos’ VIP revenue is not solely due to China’s anti-graft campaign, as “political uncertainty also tends to freeze economic activities”, said Wynn, whose company derived more than 70 percent of sales from the Chinese city last year.
Macau’s casinos “will stabilize” as the Chinese special administrative region’s chief executive Fernando Chui begins his second five-year term in office, said the 72-year-old gaming mogul, who controls two casino resorts in Las Vegas and one in Macau.
Wynn Macau has also had “no problems” filling casino jobs with locals and non-local employees, said Wynn, when asked about recent labor tensions in the city. Macau faces the possibility of increased labor unrest, with union leaders saying they’re planning more protests to demand higher pay and better working conditions.