* New Macau casino to take 3-1/2 yrs, budget not confirmed
* To be 'irresistible' with 2,000 suites, convention space
* Wynn says will prosecute Okada with 'great gusto'
By Edwin Chan and Farah Master
SAN FRANCISCO/HONG KONG, May 8 Wynn Resorts
posted quarterly results that lagged Wall Street
targets after robust growth in Macau failed to make up for
flagging Las Vegas revenue, underlining the incentive for CEO
Steve Wynn to develop his business further in the bustling
Macau, the world's largest gambling destination, has been a
goldmine for U.S. operators, raking in six times what Vegas does
as visitors from the mainland spend big at the slots and
baccarat tables in the only Chinese city where casino-gambling
Wynn's company received formal approval last week to build a
new Macao casino, and he told a conference call following the
earnings results that it would take 3-1/2 years to complete,
with the firm going "lickety-split" to get it done.
Wynn Resorts reported revenue of $1.31 billion for the first
quarter of 2012, shy of analysts' forecasts for about $1.33
Vegas revenue slid 8.1 percent due to lower "hold," or money
won from gamblers, the company said. Analysts said the quarter
was essentially a slight miss with the month of March overall a
Revenue in Macau, however, jumped 9.8 percent.
Approval for Wynn's new Macau casino puts him ahead of
rivals MGM China and local player SJM, which
are awaiting notice from the government. Las Vegas Sands
just opened another casino there in April.
Wynn said the new casino would not come cheap, though he
declined to provide spending figures as the company is working
out ways to reduce costs.
"We have to make this hotel on Cotai, in every sense of the
word, irresistible to the guests. And that's an expensive
assignment to undertake," he said, adding that the property
would dramatically increase non-casino revenue with its 2,000
suites and exhibition space.
PROSECUTE WITH 'GUSTO'
Addressing his ongoing legal battle with former shareholder
Kazuo Okada, a Japanese billionaire who helped bankroll his
casino developments starting in 2000, Wynn said the company
would continue to respond to lawsuits filed against his firm.
"We will prosecute the case here in Nevada for breach of
fiduciary duty and conflict of interest with great gusto, armed
with a number of facts that are documented and irrefutable. Mr.
Okada will have to deal with that in due course," he said.
On expansion plans, Wynn described the company as a jumping
teenager and able to handle developing two casinos at one time.
Wynn missed out developing in Singapore a few years earlier,
where Las Vegas Sands rival Sheldon Adelson has one of the
world's most profitable casinos, the Marina Bay Sands.
Net income was $140.6 million or $1.23 per share, down from
$173.8 million or $1.39 per share a year earlier.
Excluding certain items, earnings per share in the quarter
were $1.33, falling short of the $1.41 expected on average,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of Wynn slipped 1.2 percent to $123.60 in after-hours
trade from a close of $125.19 on the Nasdaq. Wynn Macau
shares were trading down 0.2 percent around 0715 GMT.