Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn has called for a crackdown on triad-backed loansharking business in Macau and legislation allowing casinos to reduce taxable gambling revenues, a newspaper reported Wednesday. "It's in the public interest to grant credit to gamblers, but it must be according to the law," Wynn told the South China Morning Post.
In late August, Wynn said gambling reforms in the Chinese enclave must be enacted by year's end or Wynn Resorts will likely abandon its 20-year Macau venture under a concession signed in June last year. But Wynn said he "would wait" if Macau lawmakers fail to pass new regulations by December reforming the gambling practice, including suppression on loansharking business operated by the territory's notorious triad gangsters.
Macau has already approved new laws allowing casinos to grant credit, but Wynn said he hoped the government would pass legislation allowing the operators to offset bad debts against taxes - and thus reducing taxable gambling revenues.
Macau officials decided last year to end the gambling monopoly that Hong Kong-based tycoon Stanley Ho had held for 40 years. Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Inc. will soon give Ho competition.
Wynn's contract will run for 20 years and requires that his company invest $512.8 million within seven years and finish construction of the first phase of its resort by 2006.
Macau's triad gangsters used to routinely assassinate one another in turf wars before Portugal returned this former colony to China in December 1999. But the killings have largely stopped since the handover - although their businesses, including loansharking, bookmaking and prostitution are believed to remain active. Macau is 40 miles west of Hong Kong and derives most of its money from casinos.
Neither the Macau government nor Wynn could be immediately reached for comment.
Wynn Resorts, Limited (Nasdaq: WYNN) is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol WYNN and is part of the S&P 500 Index.
Wynn Resorts owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas (wynnlasvegas.com), Encore Boston Harbor (encorebostonharbor.com), Wynn Macau (wynnmacau.com) and Wynn Palace, Cotai (wynnpalace.com).
Wynn and Encore Las Vegas feature two luxury hotel towers with a total of 4,748 spacious hotel rooms, suites and villas, approximately 192,000 square feet of casino space, 22 dining experiences featuring signature chefs and 11 bars, two award- winning spas, approximately 290,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, approximately 160,000 square feet of retail space as well as two showrooms; two nightclubs, a beach club and recreation and leisure facilities. Wynn Las Vegas recently unveiled the new Wynn Golf Club and 18-hole, 129-acre championship golf course, and in February 2020 will debut a 430,000- square-foot meeting and convention space expansion powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Most recently, Mr. Wynn was Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mirage Resorts, Incorporated and its predecessor from 1973 to 2000. In that role, he was responsible for the development of Bellagio, The Mirage, Treasure Island at The Mirage and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as the Atlantic City Golden Nugget in New Jersey and Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi.
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