You are here
Wynn Macau shares in focus after US rout on harassment report
[HONG KONG] Shares of Steve Wynn's Chinese casino operation may come under pressure in Asian trading after allegations the Wynn Macau chairman sexually harassed women triggered a slump in its US parent.
Wynn Resorts's shares fell 10 per cent in New York on Friday, the most in 13 months, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Wynn - a casino industry stalwart - pressured massage therapists and a former resort manicurist to perform sex acts.
The allegations, denied by the Wynn Resorts' founder, may impact trading in shares of the Macau unit, which accounts for the bulk of the parent's revenue.
Wynn Macau could fall as much as 8 per cent, but the long-term impact on the stock is likely to be muted, according to Dickie Wong, Hong Kong-based executive director of research at Kingston Securities Ltd.
"The company's overall operation is on a good track," he said.
"Wynn's scandal is more personal-related. The impact to the whole industry should be limited."
Shares of Wynn Macau have risen sharply this year, climbing to an almost 3 1/2-year high as VIPs return to the Chinese gambling enclave. The allegations against Wynn come just days after Wynn Resorts reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with a surge in revenue from the Wynn Palace, a casino located on Macau's Cotai Strip, overshadowing weaker results out of Las Vegas.
While Wynn Resorts is based in Las Vegas, it generates more than 70 per cent of its business in Macau, the world's largest gambling hub. The company said early last week it plans to develop the next phase of the US$4.2 billion Wynn Palace on 11 acres (4.45 hectares). On a conference call, Steve Wynn expressed optimism the business will be able to continue after the gaming licenses of Macau's six casino operators start expiring from 2020.
Representatives for Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau couldn't be reached over the weekend.
Wynn is the latest in a list of powerful men across an array of industries who have been accused of harassing and abusing women. He paid US$7.5 million to settle claims brought by a former manicurist at his Las Vegas resort who said he pressured her to have sex with him, according to the Journal. The report contained numerous other allegations from other women of harassment and coercion.
Wynn, who turned 76 on Saturday, told the Journal that the idea he ever assaulted any woman "is preposterous". A spokeswoman for Wynn Macau declined to comment beyond a statement from Wynn Resorts that said the accusations reflect allegations made in court hearings by Wynn's ex-wife in her legal battle with him.