Wynn poised to ramp up Japan campaign

While Wynn Resorts has been somewhat quieter about its interest in Japan, Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Resorts Development, tells Asia Gaming Brief in an exclusive interview that this will soon change.

“We wanted to see where the legislation was going. We didn’t want to be presumptuous and just sort of jump in and be ahead of what the government wanted,” Gordon says. But now that the IR Implementation Bill is heading toward passage, “We’re already increasing the engagement we’ve got there and that, of course, will pick up significantly.”

This will include an effort to engage directly with Japanese audiences: “It would be crazy of us to not adopt the local culture as far as language and communications, so we’re working mostly with our advisors on that to make sure we’re properly communicating.”

As expected, Wynn Resorts is primarily interested in bidding for a major urban market, though they have not yet completely ruled out a regional bid.

Gordon praises the shape of the legislation he is seeing in the IR Implementation Bill, feeling that it is creating a sustainable model for IR development in Japan.

Wynn Resorts will not try to go it alone, and will be seeking Japanese consortium partners, both in terms of an equity stake as well as in the practical day-to-day running of the IR. Gordon suggests that Wynn is most interested in Japanese partners that are already well-known and well-respected within the country.

As for Wynn’s competitive advantage against so many other eager suitors for such a license, he cites the company’s “very strong focus on high quality, very carefully developed and run resorts.” He adds, “We think that’s a good fit with the Japanese culture.”

According to Gordon, exploratory visits from Wynn executives to the Japanese market began about eight years ago.