Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

September 27, 2006

Wynn Considering Atlantic City?

Posted by Hunter

This was on VT yesterday and I should have posted it then but hey, I was busy.

Anyway, this story out of New Jersey indicates that Wynn Resorts might make a play to build a hotel there. I see this as very possible - along with Mississippi and Nevada, New Jersey is the only gaming jurisdiction in America with any sensible tax and regulatory setup.

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Read archived comments (22 so far)
September 27, 2006 12:41 PM Posted by Tom M

Actually, Wynn partnered with Boyd to build the Borgata. In my opinion, that is the best hotel by a long way in AC. It has drawn a much wealthier and younger crowd previously not associated with AC. I can only pray that Wynn and others will really make AC a top notch gambling destination and most of all, that the NJ politicians won't @#$% it up as they usually do. Before the Borgata was built, AC was a total dump. Now there is a significant amount of investment and, I hope, a bright future for the city.

September 27, 2006 2:40 PM Posted by Dave

This is a huge story--it's been rumored for a long time. I also posted on this today, and included some fairly detailed thoughts about what a Wynn AC would look like. I'd be interested in hearing what Hunter and the regulars have to say. Just check out this entry. I thought people here might like to look at the map and think about exactly what kind of magic Wynn could work there.

September 27, 2006 4:02 PM Posted by Brian

Dave, have you posted your article yet? When I click on the link in your post it goes to your website but gives me "Error 404 - Not Found." I'm really interested in hearing what you have to say.

September 27, 2006 8:17 PM Posted by Hunter

I threw in some comments on the podcast I posted just a bit earlier. The podcast RSS links are on our RSS page for those not already subscribed.

September 28, 2006 4:58 PM Posted by Dave

In reference to Brian's question, the problem should be solved. Try this link .

September 28, 2006 5:02 PM Posted by Dave

Or try this: Wynn Atlantic City?. Sorry for the double post.

September 28, 2006 7:53 PM Posted by Hunter

I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more comments.

I talked about this on the podcast and I'm not going to repeat it all but for those that don't care to listen, here's some of my thoughts.

Wynn Resorts should put a resort in Atlantic City. AC is experiencing a shift that looks a bit like the shift in Vegas in the late 80s - the move towards a mixed business model that includes a healthy dose of entertainment, high end hotels and restaurants.

Borgata has shown this can work. CityCenter East will make money and Wynn could come in and seriously challenge, perhaps own the very high end.

His Golden Nugget AC (now the Hilton) is still extremely profitable due in part to the design.

A Wynn Atlantic City would be a huge money maker and those that have been to Atlantic City will agree that the city can use as many nice places as it can get its hands on.

As far as Dave's projected site, sounds possible to me. Borgata shows that you don't have to be on the Boardwalk so why not another area?

September 29, 2006 5:07 AM Posted by Brian

I agree an East Coaster I would be really psyched about a Wynn AC, as well as the several resorts that may come to fruition on the Boardwalk at the Sands site and the north and south ends by the 2010-11 timeframe.

Its a shame Wynn's planned resort for AC in the late 90s got caught up in all that litigation with Trump and others. Beau Rivage in Biloxi is a beautiful place but was too much for that market and may have been the main factor that led to Steve selling his company. If he had built BR in AC, it would've made a killing.

October 1, 2006 6:08 PM Posted by motoman

"I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more comments."

Well you do call this site "RateVegas...." ;-)
Seriously though, I notice you added a Category for AC and it certainly looks like there'll be a lot more to talk about there soon.

No surprise the design of Hilton (former GN) is a factor in its continued success, that's what Wynn is known for: all those intangibles that just make his places "work," no matter who comes along to own them later.

And I'd certainly agree w/ Brian that the AC litigation plus Beau Rivage overkill contributed to costing him Mirage, Inc. How Vegas would be different if he hadn't ceded those properties to MGM. Might've even given him the clout to make a stonger play in Asia, e.g., no hesitation about Singapore or playing catchup w/ Adelson in Macau.

But then, we wouldn't've had Wynn Las Vegas to impress us! (Unless it grew from a project he already had in the works...? Although I'd agree w/ the cynics that he basically reinvented/updated Bellagio.)

October 2, 2006 2:50 PM Posted by Devon

Now that wynn has finally started to spread his chips across the globe, do you see him going anywhere else. His partner okada, seems to be a possible inside look in the Japan market. In the past, mirage resorts flirted with ideas to venture into Vancouver, and Florida. Also, could he possibly do something in the Bahamas ie. Atlantis-like. I guess i see him focusing on Macau, Las Vegas, and AC?. But, it's always an idea.

October 2, 2006 7:17 PM Posted by motoman

Vegas: Steve's Town.
AC: been there before, and according to the article, still got friends.
Macau: money in the bank.

Singapore, I haven't followed (others here could enlighten) but Wynn Resorts gave some reason earlier this year as to why they weren't (at that time) going for Singapore. Steve said something about needing to maintain focus & quality, and being spread thin by Macau and Encore.

Basically, what I meant about how he might've been in a stronger position if still had the resources of Mirage Resorts. Darn Wall Street, anyway....!

October 20, 2006 11:17 AM Posted by American Gaming Guru

I just found this blog..and I love it! I have been searching for an AC blog. AC is on fire and Wynn coming to town is going to blow the place up. This is on top of the previously mentioned new resort proposals (Morgan Stanley/DeSanctis on the north end of the boardwalk, Pinnacle (Sands Site) and Barr/Bashaw on the south end of the boardwalk). This market has always been incredibly untapped and is finally becoming�..dare is say fashionable ???

In regards to The Hilton (Former Golden Nugget/Bally�s Grand/The Grand). Yes it is a property that still shines from when Wynn developed it. But note that it was never really profitable after Bally Manufacturing grossly overpaid for it (in-turn funding The Mirage for Wynn). It fell under the radar (with the exception of the small 2nd tower expansion) when Bally�s was absorbed into Park Place aka Caesars Entertainment. As you all probably know, it was divested as a condition of the Harrah�s/Caesars merger. It was not until recently that Colony Capital aka Resorts International which again over-paid for the property that it started to �come back�. It struggled financially when Resorts first bought the property but now is a big contender in high-roller play. Revenue has gone through the roof for this tiny yet beloved property. I believe Resorts management deserves the credit here, with some help from an original Steve Wynn design.

October 25, 2006 1:57 PM Posted by Devon

Just found out about this. According to some inside source, Wynn is talking to Trump about the Trump Plaza in AC. Here's the article:

October 25, 2006 6:20 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

I would be really surprised to see ANY Atlantic City project involving Steve Wynn actually materialize, even as a co-partnership. Let us not forget that Wynn was denied "suitability" and found to be "unfit for licensure" back in 1980 by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission when they refused to grant him a permanent gaming license promting Wynn to be forced to sell the Golden Nugget Atlantic City property and get the hell out of town for good. I don't think he will receive much of a welcome if he tries again to become an operator there. Imagine, the most politically corrupt state in the entire country, New Jersey, denying Wynn a gaming license! They [NJCCC] must know something we don't - do ya think? LOL

October 25, 2006 6:59 PM Posted by detroit1051

Leonard, give it a rest!

October 25, 2006 7:07 PM Posted by Hunter


I have a question... I think you mentioned that you had stock in Wynn Resorts, no? Did you also say that you don't think Wynn is a good manager and that he is bad for shareholders, both in the past and now?

I'm curious why you're holding the stock if you think the company is a bad bet and is doomed?

Am I missing part of the picture?


October 25, 2006 7:15 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Detroit: I will NEVER, EVER give it a rest until that bum is chased out the gaming industry with his tail between his legs and exposed for the phoney that he truly is - unless he beats me to the punch and sics one of those former FBI agents he likes to hire as his personal security detail on me first!

October 25, 2006 7:24 PM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, but can we get back to a real discussion, not just name calling and re-hashing the same stuff over and over?

I'll defend everyone's ability to share their opinions but I'm just hearing the same stuff over and over.

October 25, 2006 8:07 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter: I believe you misinterpreted what I had said earlier so I will clarify it for you since that question has been asked before here. My family has quite a substantial investment in WYNN, fortunately they bought it when the offering first went public at $17 so they already have made a bundle. My brother is a CPA and stock analyst who is an expert on gaming stocks in particular. If you remember, Wynn had a very poor reception, to say the least, from The Street and institutional investors when he was peddling the IPO at the very beginning, he had hoped for well above $20 and actually was expecting $25 or $27 if I recall correctly, however, as a result of his poor performance management history with Mirage Resorts, he didn't have a chance in hell in getting anywhere near that, so both Wynn + Okada ending up having to dig deeply into their own pockets in order to make the IPO work. When I say that it is "in my own best interest that the stock performs well", I am refering to my own family's investment, not my own personal portfolio - I prefer MGM/MIRAGE as it is arguably the most solid performer long-term. Secondly, latest results just reported for WYNN reflect the $900 M sub-concession sale to Packer, otherwise their performance would have been relatively flat. The Street predicts that the stock is most likely going to peak around the mid-80s considering it is way overvalued now and after the company's earnings return to profitability with Wynn Macau helped significantly by the sub-concession sale to Packer. Expect positive results from WYNN over the next year until Adelson unleashes his dominance in the Macau market. Also, when MGM Grand Macau comes on line it will severly drive down earnings at Wynn Macau and put further pressure on WYNN. Add that to cost overruns that are expected with Encore (count on it) and the stock will eventually tank. Note that Tony Marnell (Steve's long time contractor for every project to-date) took a pass on building Encore, makes one wonder, don't you think? Wynn had no other choice but to bring in Jack Binion to try and stabilize the international (Macau) market. Binion is a seasoned operator and a billionare himself after the Horseshoe sale to Harrah's. You can bet that Binion will be taking a really substantial piece of the pie over there himself, further reducing profitability by putting added pressure on cash flow. The official arrangement between the two has not been made public, but I understand the deal to be a really big windfall for Binion. Steve doesn't really like to share such large chunks of net profit as everyone knows - this should be a fun one to watch. Anyone who paid more than $40 for that stock will eventually get hosed!

October 25, 2006 8:23 PM Posted by Hunter


Thanks for clarifying.

With regard to Encore, did Marnell even make any real profit on WLV? The project was compressed at the end to make the 4/28 date and I had heard that the related cost increases and the contract with Wynn Resorts put a serious dent in M/C's profits and thus getting on the bus again for Encore looked less attractive.

Some of the details regarding Binion were in the press release and the option grant looked pretty generous but of course it would have to be to get him on board - he certainly doesn't need the work.

Well, WYNN should report in the next week or so and personally I'm curious to see where the results land this time.

Regarding Macau, from your comment it sounds like you think that the market may not immediately absorb all the new supply coming online with LVS and MGM's projects... This is something I've been wondering myself - long term I have no doubts about the Macau equation balancing out but in the short term, I'm not sure it will be at equilibrium, especially considering Chinese central government policy and infrastructure issues in Macau.


October 25, 2006 9:05 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter: Macau's biggest problem is its current infrastucture and transportation. Until that is sorted out (could take many years) there will a lot of problems there. Adelson's vision for the Cotai Strip is an absolute masterwork if it ends up as initially planned. Just about each and every one of the top tier luxury five star Asian and American operators will have a property there. Quite frankly, I don't know what Adelson is going to do with the insane amount of wealth he will garner from his Macau developments alone! No question Adelson will soon become the wealthest American easily surpassing Gates. Steve should really consider putting his fat-headed ego aside and 'make nice' to uncle Sheldon if he expects to survive as a competitor aginst him over there in particular. By the time the Cotai Strip properties come on line, the ifrastructure issues will already have been addressed. As far as Tony Marnell is concerned, I heard he lost his shirt building WLV. Although his initial construction contract for that thing was almost a billion dollars (not even including the tens of millions in change orders) I wouldn't be overly concerned about his bank account if I were you. Tony personally has the resorces to take a billion dollar hit and not lose any sleep over it!

October 25, 2006 9:49 PM Posted by Hunter


Have you been to Macau?

If not, do you plan to go?

I am planning on going next year, postponed from this year.