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Wynn (and Trump) Watch - January 2003

31 January 2003

Some months this section tracks a major company, often Harrah's, following the trendsetters in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the future.  The last couple of months, this space has been devoted to the two most flamboyant personalities in the industry.  Watching Donald Trump and Steven Wynn may not always, though it might, give you a hint of things to come, but it can be very entertaining.

The Donald leads off:  this month Trump completed his refinancing and received final approval from the state of New Jersey, not without a little testiness on his part.  He is making a run at the last license in Illinois.  And, though he denies that is his purpose, is sneaking in the backdoor in Nevada.  In Nevada, a person or entity can only be licensed if there is a specific casino property or an interest in a property.  Licensing in Nevada is a comparatively long process, and without a license the lead-time on development is at least a year longer.  Donald Trump has purchased enough Riviera stock to require licensing.  Now, should he decide to do a Nevada project he has a foot in the door.  He still would be required to submit for a separate license, but the process will be quicker and easier, and if there are any issues, he will know in advance.  Wonder if he has a dream he would like to put up against Steve's?  The financial results of his properties never quite measure up to Wynn's properties, but he does seem to want the challenge.

Scrutiny During Process Angers Trump.  …The Casino Control Commission approved the deal ($475 million bond refinancing) without pause, but Trump was angry that the DGE and its boss, Attorney General David Samson, put it to such scrutiny.  "I have great respect for the commission and I have great pride that they gave us a 4-0 vote, but I do believe that if you're going to get people to invest in Atlantic City, a different attitude is going to have to be given by the attorney general," Trump said…  Joe Weinert, Press of Atlantic City, 1-23-03

Consortium Waiting Decision About 10th And Last Casino License.   Donald Trump remains the leading candidate to run a proposed casino in Crestwood.  …"We are trying to determine which gaming operator has the wherewithal to provide what we need to put together the best package to bring before the state gaming board," sources said.  Brent Watters, Southtown Daily, 1-15-03

Riviera Stake Makes Trump Apply Himself.  … Trump's 358,000 shares do put him over the threshold, meaning the New York and Atlantic City developer will be required to submit an application for a Nevada gaming license.  …"I have great respect for Nevada," Trump said. "It will be an honor to be licensed in Nevada." Jeff Simpson, Gaming Wire, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1-30-03

Trump Reports Record EBITDA. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2002 increased to $321.6 million, $51.4 million higher than the $270.3 million reported for the year ended December 31, 2001, or a 19.0% increase. …Consolidated net loss for the year ended December 31, 2002 was $12.0 million, compared to a net loss of $25.3 million loss for the year ended December 31, 2001.  -Business Wire, Yahoo Business, 1-30-03

Meanwhile, as The Donald struggles with financing and trying to make a profit, sneaks in Nevada's back door and tries to get Illinois last license, Steve is drooling in Macau and dreaming in Las Vegas.

Wynn Expecting To Win In Macau.  Steve Wynn thinks Wall Street has yet to figure out just how powerful his Macau casino opportunity is.  The Strip developer expects to break ground on his planned $500 million Macau casino by April, but said recently that investors haven't caught onto the property's prospects.  Wynn plans to open the gambling operation about 16 months after the Macau groundbreaking, meaning the casino would open in mid-summer 2004.  … Deutsche Banc casino bond analyst Andrew Zarnett said it's difficult for investors who haven't seen a Macau casino to understand what the pending opening means.  "These casinos have wall-to-wall gamblers," Zarnett said. "You can think about it, but until you see it for yourself, you don't truly understand it."  Jeff Simpson, Gaming Wire, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1-21-03

Higher Expectations Challenge Casino Developer.  Casino developer Steve Wynn admitted to attendees at the 2003 International Builders' Show on Tuesday that it is growing harder to beat people's high expectations for his new projects.  "Now whether we're building homes or hotels, the challenge to create a better mousetrap is ever more daunting than it was before," Wynn said to a capacity crowd inside the 7,000-seat Aladdin Theater.  …Unlike his previous Strip developments…Wynn said Le Reve has been designed from the inside out. As a result, its signature theme won't be visible from outside the property.  "It's beautiful, but you can't look in. The audience in this hotel is in the hotel," Wynn said of Le Reve's faux 150-foot-tall mountain that will hide a 100-foot-wide waterfall, lake and choreographed musical water show.  Once Le Reve's proposed outdoor water and light show has finished, Wynn said he hopes his guests will feel as though they have recently experienced a dream. Chris Jones, Gaming Wire, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1-22-03

Ken Adams

Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.
Ken Adams
Ken Adams is the principal in the gaming consulting firm, Ken Adams and Associates. Formed in 1990, Ken Adams and Associates specializes in information, analysis, and strategic planning for Indian tribes, casino operations and gaming manufacturers.

Ken spent over 20 years in the hotel-casino industry, prior to founding Ken Adams and Associates. He held the positions of: Director of Casino Operations, Casino Manager, and Keno Department Manager. During this time, he developed numerous innovative marketing and customer development programs and systems for evaluating casino performance. Some of those programs, such as slot clubs and tournaments, have become industry standards.

Ken is also actively involved in gathering and disseminating information that is important to the gaming industry. He is editor and publisher of and the Adams' Report, a monthly newsletter specializing in identifying trends in casino gaming, regulation and manufacturing, the Adams Daily Report, an electronic newsletter that provides electronic links to the key gaming stories of the day, and the Adams Review, a special report distributed by Compton Dancer Consulting that provides editorial commentary on gaming trends.