Thursday, 8 February 2018

Steve Wynn's Luck Turns South

Steve Wynn in Macau before allegations of sexual harassment surfaced
Tycoon Steve Wynn's luck might be running out. Even though he denied allegations of sexual misconduct, Wynn, 76, resigned as the Republican National Committee finance chairman late last month and the other day resigned as CEO of and chairman of Wynn Resorts.

He claimed the allegations were "preposterous" and blamed "an avalanche of negative publicity" driven by a non-fact-based "rush to judgment" for his decision to step down as head of the eponymous casino empire.

Allan Zeman is now non-executive chairman of Wynn Macau
At first he blamed his ex-wife Elaine for the allegations, claiming they were still going through a nasty divorce, but now he has been silent.

Meanwhile shares in Wynn Macau plunged at the end of January when the allegations first came to light, but yesterday after his resignation, his right-hand man Matthew Maddox replaced him as CEO of Wynn Macau and Wynn Resorts, while Allan Zeman was named non-executive chairman of Wynn Macau.

Shares of Wynn Macau closed at HK$27 today and analysts believe Wynn's resignation will stabilize things. However, there are questions as to how much longer Wynn Macau will be allowed to keep its casino concession. It is set to expire in 2022, and on January 22, days before the bomb was dropped, Wynn was confident the concession would be renewed.

Two pairs of rare porcelain vases Wynn bought at auction
Nevertheless, with this recent news, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau which regulates casinos, has declined to comment.

In the meantime, Wynn's abrupt departure will be difficult -- he was the face of the casinos, who put his own personal touches in everything from operations to decor. In Macau he knew how to kowtow to Beijing and Macau.

He shelled out US$12.7 million for four large porcelain vases from the Jiaqing period (1796-1821) at a Christie's London auction in July 2011.

"We are delighted to be able to return these extraordinary examples of Chinese culture to the People's Republic of China, and place them on display in the city of Macau, which we are so fortunate to be a part of," Wynn said at the time.

The future of Wynn Macau may be in in the balance
The vases aren't the only treasures he has brought back to the mainland,but also a Ming dynasty vase that Wynn donated to the Macao Special Administrative Region.

So is his guanxi good enough to keep him out of trouble in Macau? We shall see...

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