Wynn Macau earnings plummeted more than 40 percent in 2016, but that isn’t stopping billionaire owner Steve Wynn from authorizing a salary increase for all eligible employees, excluding senior management.

Wynn Macau earnings pay increase

Wynn Macau income was down 40 percent in 2016, but the company’s billionaire leader is still giving employees plenty to smile about. (Image: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

Citing rising costs and the continued reduction in gaming and VIP revenue, Wynn Macau revealed its full-year net income totaled HK$1.44 billion ($184.8 million), a substantial drop from the $310.2 million the company finished with in 2015.

Basic and diluted earnings per share came in at just four cents.

Regardless, the gaming conglomerate still plans to pay a dividend to shareholders, somewhat surprising considering it didn’t in 2015. Wynn Macau will use part of its profits to pay six cents on each share to investors.

The Asian gaming arm of Steve Wynn’s empire owns and operates the Wynn Macau and Encore at Wynn Macau, as well as the recently opened Wynn Palace on the Cotai Strip.

Gaming revenues in Macau hit a two-year high in February. However, operators continue looking for ways to return the special gambling enclave to its pre-crackdown levels after the Chinese government began suppressing the VIP sector.

Pay Increases

Despite profits coming in far below 2015, thousands of Wynn Macau employees are set to see their own personal bankrolls increase. Earlier this month, Wynn said roughly 98 percent of its 12,400-person workforce in China will be eligible for a raise effective immediately.

Those making $2,000 or less a month will see their salaries increase between three and 6.5 percent. On the maximum pay threshold, that corresponds to an additional $60 to $130 each month, or $720 to $1,560 annually.

“Our success as a company is entirely made possible by our exceptional and talented colleagues,” CEO Steve Wynn said in a statement. “As a part of the community, we take seriously our responsibility to offer competitive wages and benefits to reflect their contribution.”

Staffers earning more than $2,000 per month aren’t totally out of the bonus. Wynn says those workers will receive an average increase of 2.5 percent. Senior management, however, is excluded from the raises.

The employee pay raise will cost Wynn Macau upwards of $9 million per year.

Respect Customers, Employees

Wynn said recently he doesn’t want to be known as a casino magnate, but a businessman who “is close to his employees” who knows “how to build a building.” And he differs from some gambling CEOs in that he values the overall customer experience just as much as the bottom line.

It’s one reason he’s long opposed online gambling, saying it removes the physical interaction between guest and staff.

Wynn Senior VP Jacqui Krum recently told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is considering online gambling, “Face-to-face guest contact allows us to create a five-star guest experience. To date we can’t see a way to create this five-star experience online without our employees.”

Wynn’s pay increase is one way of making sure he retains the talent his company requires in achieving its five-star goals.