Asia round-up: Wynn CEO's high hopes for Macau; ACMA imposes more sanctions

Wynn CEO excited by Macau 

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Wynn Resorts' recently appointed CEO, Craig Billings, has said he is “most excited and fascinated by Macau,” in his bid to revolutionise Wynn and appeal to younger, more affluent guests.  

Wynn’s two Macau-based casinos, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, faced losses in the final two months of 2021. The Covid-19 impact in Macau is still affecting all casino operators employed in the region.  

There are also the well-documented legal hearings around altering the operational regulations of Macau, as well as issues surrounding the renewal of concessionaires' licences.  

Were Wynn to truly capitalise on the Macau market, which had previously been the operator’s primary breadwinner pre-Covid, drawing in 70% of company profits three years ago, it seems inevitable that significant investments will need to be made to update Wynn’s offering.  

However, Billings appears more enthused than intimidated by the current challenges Macau offers up, claiming: “I’m kind of a glutton for ambiguity and change.” 

To achieve his goal of appealing to younger players, Billings would need to invest in new markets and new customers, which inevitably would mean heavy funds pumped into a recruitment drive. This may include people who don’t yet gamble.  

Billings has already announced specific policies, such as his plan to build more hotel rooms, sports facilities, art and cultural attractions, even themed rooms designed to attract medical tourism.  

However, the funds needed to make Wynn’s brand evolution practicable pale in comparison to its plans to open a US$2bn casino and beach resort in the UAE.  

It seems investment is largely on the agenda for Wynn as it looks to spend its way out of the pandemic. Perhaps more so than its online business in New York, with previous rumours about it selling the division, and its low market share to date. 

“I’m most excited and fascinated by Macau... I’m kind of a glutton for ambiguity and change” Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings 

ACMA blocks more sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested that internet service providers (ISPs) in the country block more illegal offshore gambling and affiliate marketing websites. 

The latest sites to join the growing list are Pokies Parlour, Ninja Spins, Pokies Online Casino, CasinoAus, Australian Casino Sites and AU Online Casino. 

The authority undertook investigations that found the sites to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. 

“Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling,” a statement from the ACMA read. “Website blocking provides a valuable opportunity to alert the public to illegal gambling services, through the messaging that appears when there is an attempt to access the site.” 

Since the authority first made a blocking request in November 2019, a total of 426 illegal gambling websites have been blocked. Moreover, over 160 illegal services have pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA began enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017. 

The ACMA also reminded consumers about the legitimacy of certain services, explaining that even if a service looks legitimate, it may still lack crucial customer protections, meaning customers who use illegal gambling services are at risk of losing their money. 

Last month, new research from the ACMA reported that over one in 10 Australians participated in online gambling at some stage in the last six months. The 11% total was an increase from the 8% total in 2020.

Gambling Insider's top Asia news this week

Australia: Crown unsuitable to run Perth casino, but won’t lose licence New Zealand: Multiple "failures" from SkyCity Singapore: IGT's six-year contract with the Pools Vietnam: Exclusive Q&A with Jit Ng, Hoiana CMO

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