Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, says it is conducting respective suitability checks on new board members at local gaming operator Wynn Macau Ltd, following the resignation of Steve Wynn as its chairman and chief executive amid sexual misconduct allegations. Mr Wynn has denied wrongdoing.
It had also been announced on Wednesday that Mr Wynn resigned from the equivalent posts at the U.S.-based parent, Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Paulo Martins Chan (pictured), director of Macau’s gaming bureau, also known by its Portuguese acronym DICJ, told media in the city on the sidelines of a Thursday event: “What we have to do now is to conduct the suitability checks on the newly-appointed [board] members [of Wynn Macau]. We are doing this in accordance with the law; and actually the checks have already been done on some of these board members.”
Under Macau gaming law, shareholders holding a stake of 5 percent or more in a local gaming concessionaire; board members of such operators, and “key employees” must be checked regarding “suitability” for those respective roles.
Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau Ltd announced on Wednesday that Matt Maddox had been appointed its new CEO, while Hong Kong-based businessman Allan Zeman – long connected with the Wynn Macau venture – was announced as non-executive chairman.
Wednesday’s Hong Kong filing also noted Mr Wynn was stepping down from his leadership roles at Wynn Resorts (Macau) SA, the Macau unit holding Macau gaming rights. Mr Maddox is additionally taking on chairmanship of Wynn Resorts Macau. Linda Chen, chief operating officer of Wynn Macau Ltd, remains as president and executive director of Wynn Resorts Macau. The Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau Ltd said its president Ian Coughlan would also become a director of gaming licence holder Wynn Resorts Macau.
The gaming bureau’s Mr Chan said he had “no worries” that Mr Wynn’s departure would somehow have a negative impact on the city’s gaming industry. “Macau’s gaming industry is very mature, with well-established systems in place,” Mr Chan added.
Prior to the announcement of Mr Wynn’s resignations, a meeting had taken place on Monday between the local gaming regulator; Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac; and Ms Chen, Mr Chan noted to media. At that meeting, the Macau authorities had requested Wynn Macau’s representative give a detailed explanation of the allegations against Mr Wynn. The firm was also asked to inform the Macau authorities of any updates and the results of investigations regarding the situation.
Wynn Macau’s corporate reputation had not been affected by Mr Wynn’s exit from the firm’s board, suggested Mr Zeman in comments carried on Thursday by Hong Kong television broadcaster TVB. He added that the operation of the Macau unit remained “normal”, and expressed confidence over the firm’s chances of extending its Macau gaming rights after the expiry of its current concession in 2022.
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"The Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau gross gaming revenue by about mid-single-digit (i.e., half of maximum visitation exposure), which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau”
DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd