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Wynn Resorts CEO talks Sphere, Super Bowl and F1 as 2023 revenues set high mark

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Wynn Las Vegas had the “best October, best November and best December ever” according to CEO Craig Billings, and he says he’s not concerned about competition from the brand new Fontainebleau Las Vegas just up the street.

“I don’t really see any impact,” Billings told investors as the company reported its earnings for the fourth quarter and all of 2023. He had more to say about another new neighbor.

Billings called Sphere “incredibly novel, incredibly unique, and I think it’s yet another ‘only in Vegas’ experience you can have, and we’re delighted they’re next door.” He said it’s been good for business, and Wynn gets requests all the time for rooms with the best views.

As if Wynn needed another bright spot.

Wynn Resorts reported $1.84 billion in operating revenue for the fourth quarter of 2023, a big increase from the $1 billion it had for Q4 of 2022. Wynn’s properties in Macau are making a strong rebound.

For all of 2023, Wynn Resorts had $6.53 billion in operating revenue — an increase of $2.78 billion compared to the previous year.

FILE – This photo shows the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

For Wynn Las Vegas operating revenue hit $698.8 million in the fourth quarter — still above Wynn Palace in Macau ($524.4 million) and Wynn Macau ($386.2 million). Combined, the properties surpassed Las Vegas revenues. Revenue from Encore Boston Harbor decreased by $1.2 million compared to 2022 levels, falling to $217.1 million.

And while investors on the Q4 earning call dissected the numbers out of Macau, Billings had plenty of interesting things to say about Las Vegas.

As Wynn Las Vegas works to solidify its “leader in luxury” image coming out of its record-setting quarter, Billings is admiring Sphere.

“Certainly on the U2 weekends, we see an uptick in terms of very high quality occupancy,” he said. “You’re talking about the best of the best customers that want to stay with us because we’re actually the closest property to the Sphere as the crow flies.”

With the Encore tower in the background, Sphere is shown during the Opening Ceremony during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit on November 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The company has already said Wynn beat hotel revenue records during the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, and there have been reports that dealers split $1 million in tips for the weekend.

“It’s more evident than ever that we are the go-to spot for the best customers attending citywide events like F1,” Billings said.

When Super Bowl LVIII came up, Billings said it’s different. How will it compare to F1?

“The real answer to your question is we don’t know, we’re going to see. But if we had to spitball it now, what I would say is it’s not going to be as impactful in the casino, and it will be equally if not more impactful when it comes to hotel revenue,” he said.

He described the Super Bowl as “distinctly more corporate,” with a lot of guests who will never spend their money in the casino. But he added that Wynn is also ready to cater to the high-end sports fan who gambles — the resort has doubled credit and front money available to players this week.

The Super Bowl, Chinese New Year and the next F1 race in November are generating excitement at Wynn Las Vegas. But it’s not just about these big events.

“We’ve been programming the heck out of this joint for several years now and we’ve built a lot of momentum on doing that,” Billings said.

By the time the 2024 F1 race arrives, he expects the changes will be apparent. “The first time you do anything of this scale, you’re going to have learnings and it’s just natural. I do think that there’s a lot that can be done to make the event more relevant for the town more broadly. And I think that F1 understands that,” he said.

While Wynn reaped the rewards of a high-end customer base, other resorts struggled with everything from employee access to locals who questioned whether it was worth all the trouble.

“Hopefully, there will be more opportunities for some of the other tiers of properties in the market to participate in the event this year as they continue to evolve and change the event,” Billings said.



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