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Wynn Hedges Bet on Macau

15 Apr 2004

MACAU – As reported by the (China) Standard: "Steve Wynn, the casino mogul who made Las Vegas into a family holiday spot, is still hedging his bet on working his magic on Macau.

"For more than a year, Wynn has been locked in a high-stakes public face-off with the Macau government over legal reforms for the gaming industry, a confrontation that loomed over the Macau Legislative Assembly as it began discussions yesterday on a bill to allow casinos to extend credit to gamblers.

"Wynn and the government have both been dragging their feet on pledges they have made to each other, but each is keen to keep the other in the game.

"…Macau's other two new players are on the verge of opening their first casinos even as Wynn Resorts (Macau) has yet to start construction on its chosen site opposite the Hotel Lisboa. Wynn has demanded that regulatory change come first, threatening last summer to walk away if rules weren't changed by the end of 2003.

"In the months since, Wynn has taken a different tack, publicly striking positive notes about regulatory progress even as the government ultimately called his bluff.

"Company officials now say they expect to break ground later this year, but time is getting tight. Wynn Resorts earlier estimated that construction will take more than a year and a half.

"…Before breaking ground, he is also holding out for a law that would allow the enforcement of gaming debts, but the government is still drafting that legislation. Further, Wynn Resorts says it won't start operations until Macau agrees to allow the company to credit uncollectible gambling debts against its tax bill…"

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