Macao powers Wynn; Indiana down, Missouri flat

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Sounding pleased with Wynn Resorts (“Upside across the board”), J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff lauded its 2Q23 performance as “solid,” without budging from his “Overweight” rating or $142/share price target. That’s despite Wynn blowing past Greff’s cash-flow estimates for Macao, Las Vegas and Boston. Lower-than-usual hold in mass-market play undid better-than-usual retention of VIP gambling money in Macao but surpassed cash-flow projections by at least $10 million. Mass-market table action hit 91% of pre-Covid levels, as the enclave continues its faster than expected comeback. Retail sales were described as “strong,” while Wynn’s Macanese hotels ran at 96% occupancy.

Also firing on all cylinders was Wynncore, which scored better-than-expected marks in gambling, room rates, F&B and even the troubled entertainment program. Las Vegas-derived revenues of $578 million far overshot Wall Street‘s anticipation. Ditto cash flow. Room rates were an astronomical $462/night as “the high end continues to outperform.” While slot coin-in was but 88% of 2Q19 altitudes, table games more than compensates, seeing 127% as much wagering.

Compared to this, Encore Boston Harbor received only a slight revenue bump, despite $400/night ADRs and 93% occupancy. “Management noted that table game volumes in 3Q are being temporarily negatively impacted by the Sumner Tunnel restoration, which is expected to be ongoing through 8/31, but both slots and non-gaming revenue continue to grow y/y in July,” Greff reported. And if anyone’s still paying attention to Wynn Interactive, it posted $15 million in negative ROI, an improvement on 2Q22’s $20 million in red ink.

While relatively unsurprised by the Wynn numbers, Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli was sufficiently enthused to maintain a “Buy” rating on WYNN, price target $140/share. Like Greff’s, his prognostications were outdone by the company’s actual performance. He added that operating costs in Macao were stable, thanks to Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace being properly staffed last quarter (unlike some of their peers). Preparation pays—literally so in this case.

Is the Indiana casino glass 9/10 full or one-tenth empty? The former, suggests Greff, who points out that, despite a 5% declivity last month, the Hoosier State is still 4% ahead of where it was in July 2019—after subtracting Hard Rock Northern Indiana. The latter remains a category killer, flat last month but crushing it at $37 million. Next-best was Horseshoe Indianapolis, down 2% to a still-mighty $30 million. Horseshoe Hammond put up a game struggle against Hard Rock, down 8.5% for $26.5 million. Rounding out the northern tier was Ameristar East Chicago, off 7% to $16.5 million, along with Blue Chip, up 1% to $12 million as it holds off Michigan competitors.

Harrah’s Hoosier Park made an impressive $19.5 million despite being 9.5% off the pace, the biggest percentage decline in the state. Belterra Resort was down a point to $8.5 million, Bally’s Evansville off 6% to $15 million and French Lick Resort up 3.5% to $7.5 million. Rising Star brought up the rear with $4 million (-6%), while Hollywood Lawrenceburg slipped 5.5% to $14 million and tribal Caesars Southern Indiana ceded but 2% to reach $22 million. Nothing dramatic, nor any real causes for concern.

At $168.5 million, Missouri casinos were flat for July. 1.5% fewer players visited but those who did spent 1% more than last year. Had the calendar not been unfavorable (one fewer weekend day), the month would have ended in the black. Ameristar St. Charles was out front with $26 million but slipped 4% while nearby, smoky rival Hollywood St. Louis hopped 4% to $22 million. Boyd Gaming, look to thy marketing! River City was flat at $22 million but Horseshoe St. Louis‘s comeback story continued, with $14 million for a 6.5% improvement.

Out west, Bally’s Kansas City ($11 million, +2%) continues to capture market share even before its renovation is completed. Also doing better was Harrah’s North Kansas City ($15.5 million, +2%). Surrendering market share were Ameristar Kansas City ($17.5 million, -3%) and Argosy Riverside ($15 million, -6%). Ameristar can afford it … but for how much longer … and Argosy clearly can’t. Rural casinos were led by Isle of Capri Boonville ($8 million, -2%), while Century Casinos had a good month in Caruthersville ($4 million, +3%) and a decent one in Cape Girardeau ($6 million, flat).

New York State‘s online sports books netted $105 million last month on $962 million in handle. That’s a handy 11% win rate. FanDuel and DraftKings divided most of the spoils, with $41 million apiece. Erstwhile leader Caesars Sportsbook was back at $11 million, besting BetMGM‘s $7 million. BetRivers made $3 million before taxes while PointsBet scored $1 million. Sub-million also-rans included WynnBet, Resorts World and seemingly doomed BallyBet, which didn’t make one thin dime.

Sports books in Illinois played very lucky in June, improving their revenue retention by 34% from last year. Win was $54.5 million, with the lion’s share—$21.5 million—going to FanDuel. Next came DraftKings with $17 million, followed by BetRivers ($6 million), BetMGM ($3 million), Caesars Sportsbook ($2.5 million), PointsBet ($2.5 million) and newly spurned Barstool Sports with $2 million. It never did get much traction with punters.

Add the Nevada Independent‘s veteran John L. Smith (the most honest man in Nevada journalism) to the chorus of voices cheering the American Gaming Association‘s decision to discuss casino smoking at Global Gaming Expo. Just getting the topic onto the agenda feels like a huge victory, the end of a vast taboo. As Smith writes, “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the industry has the opportunity to at last catch up and get ahead of this issue. It’s not only good business and corporate practice in the long run, but also the right thing to do for customers and casino workers alike.” Amen, Brother Smith.

Phil the Shill Mickelson is back in the news again, not as a Saudi stooge but a degenerate gambler. According to whale Billy Walters, Mickelson tried to use him as a beard to bet $400,000 on the 2012 Ryder Cup team on which he played. (He would have lost his shirt, not for the first time.) Other numbers compiled by Walters include 7,065 sports wagers between 2007 and 2012, as well as almost $100 million in losses. Mickelson could argue that because his alleged handle was $1 billion, he won much more often than he lost. Instead, Phil the Shill offered non-denial denials, saying he “never bet” on the Ryder Cup, not that he tried to bet on it, which is what Walters alleged. As Rory McIlroy zinged, “At least he can bet on the Ryder Cup this year because he won’t be a part of it.” Touché.

Jottings: Nov. 20 is the date certain for Station Casinos‘ unveiling of Durango Resort, sure to command heavy business due to its strategic location on the southwest corner of the beltway, an underserved neighborhood. Despite its $750 million cost, Durango will be opening with just 200 hotel rooms, the absolute minimum … For Las Vegas Strip denizens, the big reveal will be what $63 million of capex bought at New York-New York. A refresh of 1,830 hotel rooms and 155 suites is promised, including that always-welcome amenity, extra closet space. One can never have too much … Say goodbye to low-rolling Casino Royale. That Margaret Elardi dive will soon make way for a 699-foot hotel tower. Watch Vital Vegas for details … Gordon Ramsay‘s empire continues to expand. Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will soon be the home of a(nother) Gordon Ramsay Burger restaurant. Nor do we think the chef will rest on his laurels … Looking to improve its customer interface, WynnBet has rolled out a new betting app in six states, with two to follow shortly. “The platform features faster deposits and withdrawals. It also provides users with access to a slew of new betting markets,” reports Is it timely enough to make a difference?

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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