Wynn Resorts’ CEO said Wynn Las Vegas likely set an all-time record for adjusted earnings on the Las Vegas Strip in 2022, and 2023 is off to an even stronger start.
Craig Billings touted the success during Wednesday’s earnings call. He started out by citing a 2019 earnings expectation published by a Wall Street analyst in early 2020, ahead of the pandemic, that forecast $482 million in adjusted earnings for Wynn Las Vegas in 2022.
“Here we are, three years and a global pandemic later, and Wynn Las Vegas just printed $816 million of normalized property (adjusted earnings),” Billings said. “I’m confident that this is an all-time record for a stand-alone Las Vegas Strip property. In my view, we didn’t deliver this result by nickel and diming on service standards and reducing staff to drive operating leverage. The team did it by focusing on what we do best – great products, great service, and great programming – and it showed in our market share and pricing power. The Wynn Las Vegas team absolutely crushed it in 2022. Our business in Vegas is stronger and more relevant than it’s ever been.”
Billings said international travel is a tailwind and he hopes to see more of it in 2023, especially from Asia.
“Even with the tailwinds, we outperformed, but we’re keenly aware of the broader economic environment, from interest rates and gas prices to layoffs, and we have a 2023 playbook for any number of economic scenarios,” Billings said.
Brian Gullbrants, president of Wynn Las Vegas, said not only were the Las Vegas properties pacing strong at the end of 2022, but they’ve accelerated in 2023. He said they may set a record for group business during the first quarter.
Bookings in 2023 are running ahead of pre-COVID levels, despite higher room rates.
“We have strong pricing power in every channel and we have a new show in Awakening and several projects coming. Then things kick up a notch with F1 in November. Our outlook for the year, pending no other macroeconomic impacts, looks pretty good.”
Billings detailed his trip to Macau in December for the signing ceremony extending their gaming concession there. He said he’s proud of their plan as part of the renewal and believes the planned capital expenditures and programming will add to the business in the coming years.
“Fortunately, recent actions by both Macau and Mainland authorities to reopen the market give us great confidence that the difficulties are behind us and the near-term future there looks much brighter.”
During Chinese New Year, Billings said mass-market table drop reached 95% of 2019 Chinese New Year levels, with strong play across the spectrum, from premium mass to core mass. Indirect VIP turnover was 40% above pre-COVID Chinese New Year levels, he added.
The gross-gaming-revenue market share in January was consistent with 2019 levels, despite changes in the junket marketplace. That defies expectations of those who continue to “incorrectly believe that we’re a solely VIP-focused organization,” Billings said.
Billings said they had 96% occupancy and retail sales were up 34% compared to 2019 in Macau for Chinese New Year. “We had the strong (normalized adjusted earnings) since the onset of the pandemic at $4 million a day.”
In Boston, Wynn had record gross gaming revenue during the fourth quarter and occupancy continued to be strong as the first quarter got underway.
Boston Harbor launched retail sports betting last week and averaged more than $500,000 a day in handle over the first six days, 80% of the average daily handle at Wynn Las Vegas, Billings said.
Boston Harbor also signed up 30% more Wynn Rewards members than normal over those six days. The combination of retail sports betting and online sports betting when it launches in Massachusetts will be another catalyst.
“We continue to expect the sportsbook to be a significant driver of new customer acquisitions over time,” Billings said.