Wynn Resorts: UAE the most exciting new market opening in decades

Wynn Resorts Marjan

Wynn Resorts’ development on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates will become a “must see tourism destination”, confidently predicted CEO Craig Billings in the operators’ latest quarterly earnings call.

As strike action in Las Vegas looms, at the time of writing, Billings hailed the group’s aforementioned opportunity as taking place in “the most exciting new market opening in decades”.

UAE possibilities

In an update regarding the UAE project’s progress, continuing construction has seen much of the foundation for the 1,500 room hotel tower almost complete, which follows “several recent regulatory developments”.

However, elaborating on “increased chatter about the opportunities” in the region, Billings took time to offer his own perspective.

“We believe it highly unlikely that every emirate will ultimately avail themselves of the right to host an integrated resort,” he commented.

“There’s a whole bunch of reasons for this, ranging from cultural nuances to population density, to varying degrees of need for the additional visitation. Our view is that it will likely be us and us alone for a multiyear period given that we are well underway on construction now. 

“And of course, we all know the advantages of being first as we have seen in other markets. After that, it may be a duopoly or an oligopoly of three, but I find either ultimate market structure undaunted given the database advantages of being first and the fact that we very successfully operate in the two most competitive markets in the world, Vegas and Macau.”

Las Vegas strike action

These comments follow much disruption within Las Vegas, where potential strike action that could have affected 18 casino properties now solely centred around Wynn Las Vegas.

The move, which was billed as potentially being the “largest hospitality worker strike in US history”, has been largely averted after MGM Resorts and Caesars reached agreements with the Culinary and Bartenders Union

However, with mere hours to go until Wynn’s venue faces such action, Billings noted that the company’s third quarter performance came “despite the fact that we accrued during the quarter for the estimated increases associated with a new agreement with the Culinary Union”.

Q3 reflects ‘continued strength

These updates are set against the backdrop of a third quarter that Billings hailed as reflecting “continued strength across our property portfolio”.

This saw revenue 85.61 per cent to $1.67bn (2022: 899.7m), with increases to $524.8m (2022: $75.2m), $295m (2022: $40.4m) and $619m (2022: $544.4m) felt across Wynn Palace, Wynn Macau, our Las Vegas operations. Wynn Interactive secured a $4.8m increase, while Encore Boston Harbor suffered a slight dip to $210.4m (2022: $211.8m).

Net loss attributable to the company lowered to $166.7m (2022: $142.9m), while adjusted property EBITDA surged over 200 per cent to close the quarter at $530.4m (2022: $173.5m). 

Focusing on Las Vegas specifically, Billings noted that “Activity at the property was frenetic during the quarter with hotel occupancy, restaurant covers, casino visitation, table drop, and slot handle all up over what was a very strong third quarter of 2022. 

“As a result of all that activity, we produced third-quarter records in gross gaming revenue, food and beverage revenue, and hotel revenue.”

Adding: “Looking ahead, we have a strong pipeline of forward group demand, very healthy gaming market share, and a robust programming calendar with F1 and Super Bowl just ahead of us. 

“And while it certainly is an increasingly complex world out there between inflation, rates, geopolitics, things continue to feel pretty good around here.”