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Inside Gaming: Sands Opens Singapore Project, Wynn Reports Profits, Harrah's Left Out of Good News

Inside Gaming: Sands Opens Singapore Project, Wynn Reports Profits, Harrah's Left Out of... 0001

This week in the gaming industry, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. opened the first phase of its new $5.5 billion casino resort in Singapore, a project that is expected to boost the ailing company's bottom line. On the strength of its Asian properties, Wynn Resorts was able to report first-quarter profits, while Harrah's reported further losses.

Marina Bay Sands Opens in Singapore

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation opened the first phase of its $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore during the week. The complex includes a casino, hotel rooms, restaurants, night clubs, and a shopping mall. Some of the facilities, including 963 hotel rooms, opened ahead of the complex's planned grand opening set for June 23. The rest of the 2,560 hotel rooms, an events center, and additional shops and restaurants will open then. The Sands SkyPark, a 60-story building built on top of the Marina Bay Sands' three hotel towers is also set to open in June. "This is going to be the most photographed building of its kind in the world. It might even rival the Sydney Opera House," said Michael Leven, president of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The project has a relatively small 165,000 square feet of gaming space. The government in Singapore issued two licenses for casinos in 2005 but stipulated that gambling could not be the facilities' primary purpose. "The casino is not the overriding element of the project, but it allows us to do everything else," Leven said. "The casino has got to work. If it doesn't work, you can't make the project work financially." The Marina Bay Sands will still include 600 table games and 1,652 slot machines spread over three floors.

The Marina Bay Sands is the second casino to open in Singapore. Resorts World on Sentosa Island opened on February 14. So far, financial reports have looked good for the country's first casino complex. Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Dennis Farrell Jr. said that while exact figures hadn't come in yet, "Thus far the casino floor has been flush with gaming patrons and could be a strong indicator for the future success of Las Vegas Sands' Marina Bay casino. We believe [Marina Bay] is in a better location and will be an iconic resort in the Far East when fully completed." Read more about the opening here.

Wynn Resorts Scores First-Quarter Profit

Wynn Resorts reported a first-quarter profit thanks to an upswing in revenue in Las Vegas and Macao. The company reported a $27 million profit for the first quarter of 2010, a major gain compared to the $33.8 million loss during the same period in 2009. The profit came from $908.9 million in revenue. The company only brought in $740 million during the first quarter last year. Wynn Resorts reported a 31.6 percent increase in earnings in Macao and a 9.3 percent increase in Las Vegas.

"The numbers, I think, speak for themselves. I really have very little to add to that expect that the first quarter numbers do not include any contribution from Encore at Wynn Macao. We're looking forward to it contributing to the overall impact of our operations in Macao," said Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.

Hotel revenue at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore fell by close to 9 percent during the first quarter of 2010, and food, beverage, and retail revenue decreased slightly. However, entertainment revenue increased by 42 percent from the first quarter of 2009. The Wynn credited the series of concerts by Garth Brooks and increased revenue from Le Rêve. Learn more about the numbers here.

Harrah's Stuck with First-Quarter Losses

Harrah's Entertainment wasn't quite as cheerful about its first quarter numbers. The company reported a loss of $195.6 million, primarily because of reduced customer spending and a focus on paying down the company's debt. The reported loss is 47.4 percent greater than reported during the same quarter last year. Harrah's also blamed a downward trend in hotel room rates and winter storms that hurt properties in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

Thanks to a boost from Harrah's acquisition of the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, the company's Las Vegas operations only lost about 1 percent in revenue compared with that of the same quarter last year. Harrah's also spent $491.5 million in interest on its debt load and $47.4 million toward retirement of debt in the quarter. Get the rest of the figures here.

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