Steve Wynn Sees ‘Overwhelming Impulse’ to Return to Normal, Accidentally Calls Wynn Resorts ‘My Company’

Posted on: May 21, 2020, 04:45h. 

Last updated on: May 21, 2020, 05:03h.

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, former Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn said people have an “overwhelming impulse” to return to normal in the wake of the coronavirus. And in what could have been just old habit, he called the integrated resort operator from which he was sent packing in 2018, “My company.”

Steve Wynn On CNBC
Former Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn said Macau is going to bounce back following COVID-19. (Image: CNBC)

Since leaving the gaming firm he founded amid a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations and selling all of his equity in the Las Vegas-based company, Wynn hasn’t completely disappeared from public view. But he’s also mostly been mum on gaming-specific issues. That changed in the Tuesday phone interview with Bartiromo.

There’s an overwhelming impulse for people to return to their normal, habitual behavior,” the former gaming executive said. “We’re seeing that in America now. People just are not going to accept being under house arrest, no matter what some governor says to them.”

Wynn, a long-time mega-donor to the Republican Party, didn’t specify a particular governor he’s taking umbrage with over shelter-in-place policies. The former gaming boss gave the interview from his Palm Beach estate where he’s visiting with his wife, Andrea.

‘My Company?’

Wynn, viewed in some circles as the Godfather of modern Las Vegas, went on to detail some of the difficulties companies with large employment bases face in reopening in the aftermath of COVID-19.

“When you talk about Las Vegas, and really any business with a huge employment base…these hotels that five to six  (thousand) and my company, 12,000 employees at Wynn and Encore, the logistics and decisions that have to be made to open them are very complicated,” said Wynn.

If Sin City reopening plans proceed as planned, Wynn Resorts is aiming to restart at least one of its two Strip venues on June 1.

Wynn told Bartiromo it’s not unusual for a high-end integrated resort to cost $3 million per day just to open the doors, and he praised leadership at his former company, calling it “outstanding,” though he didn’t specifically mention CEO Matt Maddox – his hand-picked successor.

Macau Comments

Wynn also discussed Macau, where his former company owns Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, noting that this particular recession is different than the global financial crisis. He said that during the 2008 through 2010 period, Wynn Resorts’ growth in Macau was fueled by Chinese money, and that no layoffs were necessary. Wynn added that no workers were ever furloughed during his time at the helm of the gaming giant.

“This time, opening China, which I think is gonna happen as soon as they release some of the restrictions on the visas,” said Wynn. “Macau, I believe you’ll see bounce back very rapidly, which will benefit the Nevada hotels that have operations there.”

Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts are the Silver State-based companies with footprints in the Chinese territory.

He added that by June 15, there should be more clarity on the success of reopening efforts for gaming properties in the US.