American casino mogul Steve Wynn said Tuesday that his US-based gaming firm has become a "Chinese company" as it held its first annual meeting in Macau, now the world's biggest gaming hub
. Wynn Resorts Ltd. was splitting its headquarters between Las Vegas and Macau, the billionaire executive said, with the company's revenue increasingly tied to soaring growth in the former Portuguese colony.
Macau posted $23.5 billion in gaming revenues last year, outpacing the Las Vegas strip by at least four-fold. Much of the eye-popping figure is tied to high-roller gamblers from mainland China flooding into the southern territory -- the only place in China that allows casino gambling.
"We think of ourselves very deeply as a Chinese company in many respects," Wynn told reporters, adding that the firm's revenue growth in Macau "clearly indicates that to be so".
He was speaking to media following Wynn Macau's annual meeting, with the US parent also holding its first yearly meeting in the city, where Wynn Macau runs one casino and a second casino-hotel.
Wynn Macau's first-quarter revenue of $865.7 million accounted for two-thirds of Wynn Resorts' $1.2 billion in total revenue, underscoring how US operators are betting on the city's future growth.
The gaming chief said he was not concerned about reports that Macau's key high-roller business had connections to notorious triad gangs, long reputed to operate in casinos.
His firm's investigators, including former FBI agents, were regularly "checking and vetting" Wynn staff in the Chinese territory, he said.
Macau fell under the spotlight of US gaming regulators last year when New Jersey's gambling watchdog released a previously confidential report that alleged gambling tycoon Stanley Ho had links with Macau's criminal underworld -- a claim Ho has denied.
This week, Wynn said there was no risk his firm would be investigated by US regulators who are probing rival Sands China, controlled by another billionaire gaming tycoon, Sheldon Adelson.
"We've never been investigated by anyone and have no risk of any kind whatsoever," Wynn told Dow Jones Newswires.
Sands has said the US investigation stemmed from a wrongful termination lawsuit filed last year by Steven Jacobs, the sacked chief executive of its Macau unit, who claimed Adelson made "repeated and outrageous demands" on him.
Those demands included arranging "secret investigations" of Macau officials to use as leverage against negative policy decisions and keeping secret "truthful and material information" from Sands' board, including alleged ties between the company and organised crime.
Sands has denied the claims, calling Jacobs a "disgruntled former executive".