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LAS VEGAS-Wynn Resorts Ltd. narrowed its second-quarter net loss as sales grew, the company reported Tuesday. The casino owner and operator posted a net loss of $20.1, or $0.20 per share, compared with a net loss of $41.8 million, or $0.43 per share for the same 2005 period. The company’s adjusted net loss, which excludes $15.2 million in pre-opening expenses, was $4.9 million, or $0.05 per share.

The company’s only operating casino is Wynn Las Vegas. Net sales were $273.4 million, up 36% from the same period in 2005. Net gaming revenue in the second quarter was $113.5 million, up 15% from the same 2005 period. Gross non-gaming revenue for the quarter was $196.3 million, a 2.4% increase from the first three months of the year. Room revenue was $69.2 million with an ADR of $293 and occupancy of 95.7%, generating RevPAR of $280 for the period.

Wall Street’s expectation was for earnings of $0.05 per share on sales of $268.5 million. “By each of our measures, performance is ahead of or equal to the best performance we’ve experienced since we’ve been opened,” company chairman Steve Wynn told analysts Tuesday afternoon. “Some big players got even with us in June, but it got adjusted the other way in July.”

Regarding rumors of a weakening market, Wynn said “we’ve been looking at this, and our non-casino revenue this summer is sharply ahead of last year as well as casino revenue, and that includes July.”

Wynn Las Vegas is a 2,716-room casino hotel that opened in late April 2005 at a cost of $2.7 billion. At $1 million per key, it is the most expensive resort ever built on a per-room basis. Wynn said Tuesday afternoon that it costs about $2.2 million per day to operate the facility; a number he thinks can be lowered by between $50,000 and $80,000 per day without affecting the customer experience.

Meantime, the company is investing $1.74 billion into a 2,042-room expansion at Wynn Las Vegas and a $1.2-billion, 600-room casino resort in Macau. The first phase of Wynn Macau will open this September on 11 of the 16 acres set aside for the resort. In addition to the hotel rooms, it has approximately 100,000 sf of casino gaming space, approximately 26,000 sf of retail space, seven restaurants, a spa, a salon, entertainment lounges and meeting facilities.

Wynn said the builder handed over the property on July 27. There are currently 3,500 employees on staff and the remaining 1,500 employees will start by the second week of August. The second phase, expected to open by the end of 2007, will include an additional 135,000 sf of casino space, one additional restaurant, additional retail space, a theater, and a dramatic front feature attraction that Wynn described Tuesday afternoon as something “completely unique” that “no one has ever seen.”

The hotel rooms in the Las Vegas expansion, dubbed Encore, will be housed in a single tower. In and around the base of the tower will be a 54,000-sf casino, additional convention and meeting space, as well as restaurants, a nightclub, swimming pools, a spa and salon and retail outlets. The project has been under construction since April 2006. Wynn said the builder is currently pouring the foundation. Completion is slated for the end of 2008.

Further out on the development horizon is a site on Cotai, the name given to a trip of new reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane in Macau. Cotai is about 300 acres in size and equal in length to the distance between Wynn Las Vegas and the MGM Grand. Despite the comparison and its nickname as the Cotai Strip, Wynn says the area will not feel like the Las Vegas Strip.

“The buildings will be too far apart, and it is too warm and muggy outside (so) people don’t like to walk,” Wynn said. “People will move around in vehicles.”

With regard to the 54 acres Wynn Resorts plans to develop, Wynn said discussions are ongoing with the government regarding the land concession. The deal for the property is expected to be finalized before the end of September.

The property is situated next to the airport, between the Macau East Asian Games Dome and Macau University of Science and Technology. The Dome is Macau’s largest and most modern sporting facility. It consists of a three-story multi-purpose complex covering 1.5 million sf, two separate indoor sports pavilions and a 2,000-person exhibition hall.

Wynn isn’t providing much detail with regard to his plans for the property, which he describes as two 27-acre pieces that face each other. He says the site could hold four hotels or two very large ones. Previously, he has alluded to four hotels, three of which would have casinos.

As for how the property will get developed, Wynn says he’s been working on three different casino-hotel deals. As it stands, he said it’s likely one of the casino hotels will be 100% owned by Wynn Resorts and the other two hotels would involve joint ventures, then cautioned that “we have not made final arrangements with anyone in that regard.”

“Can we open by 2009 on Cotai? Yes,” said Wynn in response to an analyst’s query.

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