Wynn points to the future

I’ve got a new Las Vegas Business Press column up, in which I discuss the historical context behind Wynn’s musings about moving to Macau.

Steve Wynn made headlines when he suggested he might consider moving the headquarters of Wynn Resorts Ltd. to Macau from Las Vegas. As always, Wynn's forthrightness points the way to a larger truth about the future of the casino industry.

Wynn Resorts is a Las Vegas success story. Since moving here in 1967 as a part-owner of the Frontier, Steve Wynn has been one of the city's prime movers.

He began making a mark in 1973, when he became the chief executive officer of the Golden Nugget, then a small downtown casino with no real distinction.

Wynn's aspirations outside of Las Vegas have always been an important piece of the puzzle.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : When Wynn speaks, gaming listens.

I think that many of the so-called pundits have reacted more emotionally than rationally to Wynn lately, particularly since he’s become critical of the current administration, and that’s what’s driving some of the comments out there. We talked about this a little on the latest Vegas Gang.

Wynn’s political opinions and the possibility of his moving the headquarters of his company are, I think, two separate issues. It’s not like he’s threatening to go John Galt on us: he’s just saying that he might move more elements of Wynn Resorts to the city that is its top market. People give another prominent CEO grief for not living in Las Vegas, since that’s where the action is, and by this logic they should be demanding that Wynn spend more time in Macau.

The most fascinating thing about Wynn is that, like Jay Sarno, his career doesn’t have a single, predictable arc. If he did, he’d have just kept expanding the Golden Nugget or, at the very least, staying with that brand. Instead, you’ve had forays into Atlantic City, Mississippi, and Macau, with the sale of Mirage Resorts along the way. All the time, he was reacting to changing conditions. If things had gone differently in Atlantic City, he might not even have built the Mirage, or at the very least would have built it in Atlantic City, and casino history would be much different.

So it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if the next stage of Wynn’s career takes him in a completely different direction. It’s happened before and there’s no reason to think it won’t happen again.

8 thoughts on “Wynn points to the future”

  1. As always DGS brings good sense, proper perspective and provides logic to things I don’t usually understand about the the world of gaming.

    If and when Mr. Wynn moves to Macau, it’s not like he’ll never return to Las Vegas. Being a member of the Jet Set he’ll likely be flying back every other week. I think the local news often over-reacts to lots of things and seemed to go all ‘panicky’ when hearing about the possibility of Wynn leaving Las Vegas.

    I think one story the local news is missing out on reporting is ‘whatever happened to Kirk Kerkorian’ and is he in anyway still a relevant part of the gaming industry. I’m curious about him. An elder statesman like him should be talking more (for history’s sake). Vegas needs to throw him a nice birthday party, even if he doesn’t show up.


  2. I wonder if the Move To Macau is simply a Trial Balloon.

    When gold was found in the Yukon hordes headed to the goldfields with picks and shovels but the sensible few headed to Seattle and outfitted the miners with equipment. Right now, Macau is the new Yukon. So it makes sense to go cater to those who are chasing the Motherlode. It doesn’t mean he can’t move the headquarters back to Vegas again!

    Some American manufacturers set up in Mexico because of low wage rates and then encountered “manana”. Some American manufacturers set up in China because of almost non-existent wage rates and then encountered Chinese Civil Servants and their whimsical taxation.

    It may well be that America will rebound and Vegas will again be the “in” spot to be.

  3. Part of it (to me) seems like Wynn’s just “marking out” to Macau. Telling them nice things they want to hear. Realistically speaking, Wynn travels all over the world on a regular basis and has no trouble running the operation. So it really does not matter where he’s at. From what I understand, Gary Loveman lives in Boston.

    Actually moving the corporate headquarters would not move that many jobs. But it would be a blow to Las Vegas’ pecking order as the gaming capital of the world.

    No question certain bloggers have let their opposition to Wynn’s political views creep into their posts. But then they may just be reflecting their audience.

  4. Since the majority of Mr. Wynn’s revenue is in Macau its his decision where he wants to keep his corporate headquarters. I hope he stays in Las Vegas but if he wants to leave well leave then.

    The casinos and construction companies (home builders) have made millions, millions, millions, and millions of dollars until the middle of 2008 when the economy hit the skids and since then Las Vegas has suffered. The economy is starting to get better so hopefully that will carry over to Las Vegas also.

  5. Pingback: Vegas Gang Special WYNN Episiode

  6. I think you made a good point about Wynn adapting to changing business conditions- his ability to do this, along with his general brilliance, has been what’s kept him on top. Great insight.

  7. Guys! He’s NOT moving to Macau! He’s from Vegas. He LOVES Vegas. He may open a corporate office for his Chinese company, but he’ll never leave Vegas. He’s using this as an excuse to bash the Obama administration.

    Yes, he’s going to spend more time in Macau on the design of his ultimate Asian casino. He’ll also spend more time on his boat (although probably NOT with Andrea! LOL). But he’ll never leave Vegas….

  8. Two quick thoughts:

    1. Paolo Mello is the only person yet to have figured out how to place a really cool icon onto this blog-site.

    2. I wonder if Wynn’s comment about life in Macau “not being tricky” referred to the game of romance. Not that it’s any of MY business. Still he DID use a strange word and he can’t blame me for wondering what he was trying to say. Maybe he meant Obama was “tricky”? Who knows. Surely not me.

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