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Mike Johnson May 20, 2020 3 min read
Steve Wynn: Airlines and Travel Restrictions Defining the Future of Las Vegas
Steve Wynn, the owner and former CEO of the casino and hospitality operator Wynn Resorts, strongly believes there are two main factors that influence the re-opening of the industry in Las Vegas: airlines and lifting travel restrictions from China.
In an interview with Fox Business, a subdivision of Fox News Media, the 78-year-old casino magnate explained his views regarding the challenges the industry faces related to the process of re-opening the land based gaming facilities, expressing his strong belief that guests will come back as it is in the human nature to stick to the feel-good factor.
Decisions Now Will Define the Future
Las Vegas, the icon of the casino industry in the US and on a worldwide scale, is facing a number of uncertainties, Steve Wynn pointed out. Casino complexes with thousands of employee base can lose millions a day, as opening for operations would cost for some to the amount of $3 million per day.
There is a huge number of questions logistics-wise that require proper answers, ranging from what part of the hotel to re-open, which employees to bring back to work, how many of the restaurants to start with, do you cater to the convention centres, etc, which ultimately lead to the most important one: how to find the proper balance between the capacity to start with so that to minimize expenditure.
The casino tycoon that featured on 648th spot of Forbes 2020 Billionaires List strongly believes that people will come back to the casinos, that they cannot tolerate that type of house arrest for long. Citing an example from Macau, on another island only a few hundred meters away, part of another province, where on the first day of re-opening 20,000 people showed up for the amusement parks and the hotels available there.
Las Vegas Intertwined with Airlines
Speaking of Macau, Steve Wynn pointed out the huge difference between the Special Administrative Region of China and Las Vegas, which is that the former does not need airlines to bring people to the resorts, a huge factor that will define the future casino business for the Strip operators in Vegas. Las Vegas is highly dependable on airline flights, with the only other option being driving by car from California, and airlines are in deep trouble right now globally.
Another factor that the founder of Wynn Resorts pointed out regarding the Las Vegas casino industry is that the high-rollers, the casino players that gamble with large sums, usually come from China, and this cannot happen at the moment due to travel restrictions. Political tensions on the China-USA axis do not make the situation easier, Steve Wynn added.
Macau Important for Domestic Operations
Asked about the importance of Macau in regards to subsidizing the industry in Vegas, the former CEO of Wynn Resorts responded that his company relies for 65% of its profits from Macau, outlining the jurisdiction was the driver during 2008-2010 recession.
Despite recognizing that some casino operators may not recover from the material impact of the casino closures, Steve Wynn ended on a positive note expressing his optimism travelling restrictions from China to Macau would soon be lifted, casinos there would go back to normal and consequently support the casinos in Las Vegas.