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UPDATE 1-Wynn to discuss Caesars Mass. situation at board meeting

Sue Zeidler
Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 6:47 PM ET

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Wynn Resorts Ltd Chairman Steve Wynn said Caesars Entertainment Corp's withdrawal from a $1 billion casino venture in Massachusetts was surprising and would be discussed at his upcoming board meeting.

Caesars pulled out of its project after investigators from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission raised concerns about its suitability for a state gaming license.

Wynn is currently bidding for a Massachusetts license for a casino that would be located in the Boston suburb of Everett.

"Who knows what's next there. Its very confusing. It's going to be the subject of my board meeting on Monday and Tuesday as to how we view Massachusetts," Wynn told analysts.

"Getting clarification on things is a cumbersome process. It's been very challenging in Massachusetts.

"I'm not entirely comfortable being in this position, but it is what it is," he said. "If you're in the gaming industry, there's an assumption that you're unsavory. It burns me up quite honestly."

Caesars' application involved a casino venture with the operator of Boston's Suffolk Downs racetrack.

Earlier, Wynn reported higher third quarter profit, boosted by results at its operations in Macau, the Chinese gambling enclave, although some analysts were disappointed by growth there because it lagged the 20 percent overall market increase in that period.

Wynn reported net income of $182 million, or $1.79 per diluted share, compared with a net income of $112 million, or $1.11 per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $1.39 billion, driven by a 9.6 percent increase in its Macau operations and a 1.1 percent increase at its Las Vegas operations.

On an adjusted basis, earnings per share rose to $1.84, beating analysts consensus estimates of $1.66 a share, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.

Chad Mollman, an analyst with Morningstar Equity, said he was disappointed by the Macau growth, and that the Las Vegas results also reflected a slowdown because, although visitations continued to trend higher, people gambled less per trip.

"Wynn has been late to recognize the significant Cotai Strip opportunity (in Macao), and we expect it to lose share to other Cotai Strip casinos," Mollman added.

Wynn is building Wynn Palace, a full-scale integrated resort on Cotai, which it expects to open in 2016.

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