World Series of Poker Europe

Inside Gaming: Winning Quarter for Wynn, the Sands Slide; British Bookies’ Merger Goes Forward

Wynn Las Vegas
  • Wynn Resorts exceeds revenue expectations for 2Q while Las Vegas Sands suffers a decline.

  • Regulators give green light to Ladbrokes & Coral merger, while judge blocks plans for a Mass. casino.

This week's installment of Inside Gaming begins with a couple of quarterly earnings reports from two of the industry's biggest players (one good and one not so good), moves on to report on the merger between two of the U.K.'s bookmakers being given the go-ahead, and also shares news of a federal judge blocking a new Massachusetts casino.

Wynn Resorts Enjoys Better Than Expected 2Q

On Thursday, Wynn Resorts Ltd. reported net income of $70.4 million for the second-quarter of 2016, exceeding the expectations of many prognosticators.

That income figure translates to around $1.07 per share for the company's stockholders, notes the Associated Press. Meanwhile three Wall Street analysts asked by Zacks Investment Research had predicted an average estimate of $0.97 per share.

Total revenue for the 2Q was $1.06 billion for Wynn Resorts, also ahead of the analysts' prediction of about $1.01 billion.

For more on Wynn's favorable second quarter and its having exceeded expectations, go to the Associated Press.

Macau Slide Affects Las Vegas Sands Corp.

By contrast, the news from this week's report from the Las Vegas Sands Corp. about their 2Q was less sanguine, as earnings for the company fell by 30% during the quarter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, total revenue fell 9.3% to $2.65 billion — worse than the analysts' estimates — with the ongoing slide in Macau affecting the company greatly thanks to its significant exposure in the Special Administrative Region.

The Las Vegas Sands' Macau sites all showed significant declines, including the world's largest casino, the Venetian Macao, suffering a 9.9% revenue decrease during the quarter. Meanwhile its Las Vegas-based operations were up 3% in revenue for the quarter, with the Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania also up by 6.5%.

Looking ahead, before the next quarter is done the Sands will be introducing a new property in Macau when The Parisian opens on the Cotai Strip. Complete with a half-scale Eiffel Tower, the new property — the construction of which began three-and-a-half years ago — is scheduled to open September 13, 2016 with over 3,000 rooms and suites, 450 gaming tables, and 2,500 slot machines.

For more on the Sands' 2Q, see the WSJ.

British Bookmakers Merger Gets Go-Ahead, 400 Shops to Be Sold

Regulators in the United Kingdom have confirmed that a merger between bookmakers Ladbrokes plc and the Gala Coral Group Ltd can proceed, with the companies' intention to sell approximately 350-400 shops helping resolve any final questions about the deal, The Telegraph reports.

The merger was first agreed upon by the two groups just over one year ago, with Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen to move into the CEO role for the new company, to be called Ladbrokes Coral.

On Tuesday, the Competition and Markets Authority gave its final approval regarding the deal, doing so contigent on the selling of the shops. "It is understood that rival bookies Betfred and Boylesports and a number of private equity firms are already in talks with Ladbrokes and Coral about snapping up sites," says The Telegraph.

A study of the merger by the CMA concluded the sale of the shops would be necessary in order to prevent a "substantial lessening of competition" in 642 different areas. The 350-400 shops represent about a tenth of the total presently owned by the two companies. It's also a considerably smaller number than some thought the newly-merged group might have to sell in order for regulators to allow the deal.

The yet-to-be-completed merger comes on the heels of the one forged between Paddy Power and Befair — now Paddy Power Betfair — earlier this year. The Telegraph also reports how the Ladbrokes-Coral alliance "heaps pressure on William Hill, which has been left behind by the spate of deal-making and become isolated."

Not coincidentally, as PokerNews reported Wednesday, 888 and Rank are teaming up in a bid to join forces with William Hill, having made a bid to do so.

Read more about the Ladbrokes-Coral deal and other implications for U.K.'s gambling scene in The Telegraph.

Judge Blocks Tribe's Plans for New Massachusetts Casino

Finally, plans for a new $1 billion casino in Taunton, Massachusetts were thwarted yesterday when a federal judge ruled the United States government did not have the authority to designate land to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe desiring to build the property.

According to The Boston Globe, United States District Judge William G. Young "ruled in favor of a group of Taunton property owners who had sued to block the casino, contending that the US Department of Interior erred when it approved the Mashpee reservation last year."

Said Young, the land in question was not federally recognized at the time of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which meant the Department of Interior hadn't the authority to make its prior approval.

An appeal of the ruling is forthcoming. Meanwhile the plaintiffs expressed vindication after the judge's decision in their favor. "It isn't about a casino," said one of the residents who had filed a suit, "it's about land in a trust, and it's now under state and local control."

The ruling comes just three months after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission shot down another proposal to build a $677 million in nearby Brockton, Massachusetts, located about 20 miles from Taunton. Interestingly — as we shared here in late April — the prospect of the Taunton casino had partly swayed the MGC's decision against allowing a Brockton property.

Learn more about the Taunton decision and what may come next by visiting The Boston Globe.

Photo: "Wynn ~ Las Vegas," VasenkaPhotography. Creative Commons Attributions 2.0 Generic.

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