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Wizard Steve of Wynn Las Vegas Casino-Resort

1 April 2005

By Marlene Prendeville
No one anticipates trends like casino developer Steve Wynn, 63, who is excited about his US$2.5 billion Wynn Las Vegas Casino-Resort. Wynn confirmed that the first-phase 50-story tower of 2,800 rooms, will be completed on time, scheduled to open on his wife, Elaine's Birthday, April 28. He said he wants his Casino-Resort to feel like it's been open for six months on the opening day. Wynn likes to quote: "It took Michelangelo four years to complete the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Your room took five."

Wynn claimed the entire project is on budget. He emphasised the project 5.5 million square feet, is larger than any of his previous resorts and, with 14 showrooms, much more complicated than Bellagio Casino-Resort.

The 217-acre resort will feature a luxurious Casino, approximately 111,000 sq.ft. with the latest slot machines and table games. The main gaming area will contain an estimated 136 table games, 2,000 slot machines, a Race and Sports Book, Poker Room, Keno Lounge, Baccarat Salon and private gaming rooms. "Our gaming limits will accommodate a full range of casino customers," said Wynn. Big name manufacturers like IGT, Aristocrat, Bally, WMS and others will be prominent on the gaming floor.

Wynn expressed his desire to attract high rollers, upper-crust guests, and first-time conventioneers to his 200,000 sqft complex that will include two ballrooms. "We didn't have to build the convention space because it was already there at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), and the Sands Expo. Hence our hotel is the natural alternative. Our ballrooms have a guaranteed, built-in midweek demand," he said. Conventioneers will find Wynn's mega resort minutes away from the LVCC, also accessible by the Wynn shuttle.

According to Frank Streshley, senior research analyst with the State Gaming Control Board, healthy table game play, especially baccarat on the Strip, boosted the state's total win. Nevada casinos in October 04, recorded their second-best month ever.

Las Vegas also known as Sin City with its 24-hr lifestyle of flashy lights, and high-thrill excitement should welcome the elegant, tranquil environment of Wynn Las Vegas, that personally caters to the specific needs of each guest.

Located on the former site of the Desert Inn on the Las Vegas Strip, across from Fashion Show Mall, high-rollers will not have to travel far to shop. "It's the people who bring the Casino to life, no matter how good we are at design and financing," said Wynn. "There is no way to run a first-class operation without the best workers possible, and that means working with the Culinary Union."

"I spent two years and five months with a felt-tip pen alone in a room. I'm in ecstacy during the period," he said. Wynn claims he has developed a team that exceeds the skill level of any previous team in Las Vegas. An extremely kind, shy man, he believes the secret of his success is to spend a lot of time thinking about what his customers want, and he then discusses with his executives at business meetings and conventions. Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Zarnett said there isn't a chance of a flop: "When you look at Steve Wynn's experience, there are numerous qualified people who want to work with him, it's hard not to hire the right people." Wynn Las Vegas should yield a huge return to the bottom line over the next year for the city, the county and the state as customers and the just plain curious come to see it." Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts Vice Chairman, Kazuo Okada, are equal partners having invested $380m each in Wynn Resorts. Recently they kicked in the latest $400m stock offering to pave the way for $900 million expansion, 1,500-suite tower, tentatively named "Encore", completion in 2007, even before the first guest has arrived. The expansion will feature two restaurants and a spa, retail and convention space, expanded parking facilities, additional showroom, and 18 fairway villas adjacent to the Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn-designed 18-hole golf course, the only course located on the Las Vegas Strip, and it is exclusively for the use of resort guests.

Okada has been licensed for more than 20 years as the owner of Universal Distributing Co. Nevada, now largely dormant, but recently acquired by Aruze. He said: "I will comply with all the regulations in Nevada. I will do my best to respond to their expectations." Okada knows that if he does anything negative, it affects Steve Wynn, and vice versa.

Wynn expounds: "Nothing succeeds like success. I believes that guests will line up across the country for the opening." He claims group and convention reservations are moving fast to pass 100 percent occupancy in the first full year of operation. The convention business is one of the fastest growing segments of the market with major casinos on the Strip expanding on convention space. One of the first big customers will be the 2005 Governor's conference on Tourism to be held Wynn Las Vegas December 12-15, 2005. Marc Falcone, analyst, Deutsche Bank, said: "Steve Wynn knows what his customers want and that's a key reason for his success. Wynn is now encouraging Fortune 500 executives and convention planners to host their annual meetings and presentations at his new Casino. Conventioneers are good paying customers and the more convention reservations the better, and then you can go on to charge free and independent travelers for rooms you have left over."

Wynn explained he has 57 operating systems, one of which is the Internet recruiting program, all of which have to work at once. "We're going to throw a switch and they're all going to have to work perfectly on Day One," Wynn said.

Wynn views his latest construction as the catalyst for the newest wave of casino construction along the Strip. Analysts agree with him. Wynn says he is certain that the current inventory of casino-resort projects of nearly 129,000 hotel rooms will increase over the next decade. Some projects are already under construction: the Venetian-Palazzo $1.6bn, Project CityCenter Hotel & Casino $3bn; Red Rock Station $475m.

Every casino on the Vegas Strip is optimistic, hoping to move forward at a record pace. The health of the tourism market is getting stronger.

Concurrently, Wynn and Okada are also developing their Asian flagship casino resort in Macau (the company was awarded a 20-yr concession by the Macau government). Wynn Macau is scheduled to open to the Chinese gaming community sometime in 2006.

Marlene Prendeville is a member of the International Federation of Journalists. She has a Masters from London University and Trinity. Contact at: 534 Tam O'Shanter Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. International + 1-702 369 4138.
Marlene Prendeville
Marlene Prendeville is a member of the International Federation of Journalists. She has a Masters from London University and Trinity. Contact at: 534 Tam O'Shanter Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. International + 1-702 369 4138.
Marlene Prendeville
Marlene Prendeville is a member of the International Federation of Journalists. She has a Masters from London University and Trinity. Contact at: 534 Tam O'Shanter Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. International + 1-702 369 4138.