Wynn Says It Will Be Ready If Massachusetts Sports Betting Becomes Legal
Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings said the company’s interactive business is preparing to be in the Bay State from the outset should a Massachusetts sports betting bill pass the Legislature and is signed by the governor.
Billings offered his insight Tuesday during a conference call to discuss first quarter 2022 financial results.
The Massachusetts Senate passed an amended version of H3993 late last month after the House passed the legal sports gambling bill in July. The Senate and House versions differ greatly. Those differences would have to be reconciled for sports betting to move forward.
What does it mean for Wynn?
Billings said legal sports betting in MA would be a “boot-strapping” event for WynnBet, Wynn Interactive’s mobile betting platform. Wynn also operates Encore Boston Harbor, one of two class 1 resort casinos in Massachusetts.
“If you look at some of our competitors and their market share in states where they have a physical presence, it’s clear that bricks and mortar is an advantage,” Billings said. “So with a bill and reconciliation between the House and the Senate in [Massachusetts] now, we’re preparing to be there Day One, and that will be an important event for the business.”
Gaming revenue increased by 23% from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022 for Wynn Interactive. This occurred even after spending less in user acquisition, Billings said. Wynn CFO Julie Cameron-Doe said the interactive division generated about $727 million in turnover for Q1.
“With the Massachusetts Senate passing a sports betting bill several weeks ago and now in reconciliation with the House, we’re looking forward to the potential for a significant catalyst for Wynn back in the commonwealth,” Billings said.
Encore Boston Harbor performance
Wynn reported operating revenue from Encore Boston Harbor was $190.8 million in Q1, an increase of $60.7 million over Q1 2021. Adjusted property earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBTIDA) was $55.3 million, compared with $30.4 million for first quarter 2021.
Table games win percentage for the first quarter was 22.2%, according to Wynn. It was 21.1% in Q1 2021. The property’s expected range is 18% to 22%, Wynn said.
“Consistent with our regional peers, (the) omicron (COVID-19 variant) along with bad weather, temporarily disrupted our performance at Encore Boston Harbor in January,” Cameron-Doe said. “But as Craig noted earlier, we exited the quarter generating EBITDA in March that was 60% above January.”
Sports betting in Massachusetts
The Bay State is one of 16 US states without legal sports gambling.
The Massachusetts House has passed multiple sports betting bills. Most failed to gain any MA Senate support until late last month.
The state Senate passed April 28 an amended version of H3993, a sports betting bill that passed the House in July. Key differences between the House version of the bill and the Senate version exist, including:
- The House version legalizes betting on professional and college sports; the Senate version only allows for legal betting on professional sports;
- The Senate version taxes online sports wagering at 35% and in-person betting at 20%; the House proposes 15% and 12.5% tax rates, respectively;
- The House proposal allows each state casino three online skins, and three racetracks each get one retail sportsbook skin. The Senate limits sports wagering licenses to one in person and one online skin for casinos and sportsbooks;
- The Senate bill bans sports betting TV advertising during game broadcasts.
Solving these key differences
The MA House must take up the Senate version in a concurrence vote. If that concurrence vote fails, the issue goes to a conference committee. That committee’s job is to form an agreed-upon bill that can’t be amended.
The speaker of the House and the Senate president would appoint three members each to the conference committee. The agreed-upon bill would have to pass both chambers before headed to the governor.
Play MA has reached out to Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano regarding a timeline for the House concurrence vote and the possible formation of a conference committee. The speaker’s office has not responded.
State Representative Dan Cahill, who is a co-sponsor of H3993, told Play MA he did not know when a concurrence vote might happen or when a conference committee would be formed should the concurrence vote fail in the House.