Macau Mauling: Steve Wynn Takes On the Communist Party

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/25/2015 07:50:00 PM
The PRC humbles the capitalistic Steve Wynn.
If nothing else, casino legend Steve Wynn is a brave man. Yes, I know, he's also a very rich man, but as of late, his fortune has been eroded by the Chinese Communist Party's anti-fun campaign against Macau. Efforts to prevent Communist Party officials siphoning state funds to gamble in Macau has involved limiting the money Chinese can move from the mainland to Macau. However, Wynn claims that the drive to diversify Macau's revenues away from revenues towards dining, shows and other attractions has also had the effect of dampening Macau's core business:
Billionaire Steve Wynn is not happy with the government of Macau. The casino magnate let loose on a conference call Thursday after his company's Macau division reported a net revenue decline of nearly 40%. "In my 45 years of experience, I've never seen anything like this before," Wynn said...

But now, VIP gamblers are fleeing Macau in droves because an intense anti-corruption campaign in Mainland China has made them wary of visiting casinos. The industry is also taking a hit from new government rules. Wynn said he is particularly flummoxed by the local government's decision to limit the number of tables allowed at new casinos, including one that his company is building. "The table cap is the single most counter-intuitive and irrational decision that was ever made," Wynn said. "Here we are spending billions of dollars ... and then arbitrarily somebody says, 'well you should only have this many tables.' No jurisdiction ever has imposed that kind of logic on us."
Welcome to market authoritarianism, Steve Wynn. After benefiting from the Communists seeking Western developers earlier on, Wynn and his Western peers have been understandably less keen on the restrictions that have been placed on their activities as of late:
"We built tens of thousands of rooms and restaurants and attractions, but they say, 'you're not allowed to gamble, because you can't have the tables.' Well that's one of the reasons they come to Macau." The frankness of Wynn's remarks were a notable departure from the jargon and corporate speak that typify earnings calls. "I don't know that this has been the most satisfying quarterly phone call we've ever had, but at least it's the most candid and the most honest one that we could possibly give everybody that is interested in our company," Wynn concluded.
The Communist Party giveth and taketh away. That's just the nature of things, and it's as true for Macau as it is for the mainland.