Wynn CEO: Vegas reservations from U.K. travelers spiked after U.S. announced plans to ease restrictions

Wynn Resorts CEO Matthew Maddox told CNBC on Thursday the casino operator saw an immediate surge in reservations from British travelers after the White House indicated it would ease restrictions on vaccinated foreign visitors.

“Just this week when it was announced you can come to the U.S. if you’re vaccinated, we had reservations from the U.K. spike from effectively zero to hundreds a day. People are wanting to come to Las Vegas and have a good time,” Maddox said in an interview with Jim Cramer on “Mad Money.”

Maddox’s comments offer insight into the level of pent-up demand among noncitizens who have had their access to the U.S. largely curtailed since March 2020, when former President Donald Trump instituted sweeping travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Biden administration’s changes, which the airline industry had been urging for months, are set to take effect in early November. In addition to showing proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test taken within three days of departure for the U.S. also will be required.

The return of foreign visitors will help Wynn’s already booming U.S. business, according to Maddox.

“I’ve been at Wynn for 20 years and … we’ve never experienced the type of business that we’re seeing right now in Las Vegas and in Boston,” he said. “It’s extraordinary, and we’re seeing it without international travel.”

Wynn shares have been under pressure in recent days since authorities in the Chinese special administrative region of Macao began a 45-day period of public consultation on its large gaming industry. The prospect of tighter regulation spooked investors in Wynn and other casino operators that count on revenue in Macao such as Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts.

Maddox expressed confidence about the situation in Macao.

“We employ 15,000 people there. We’re good corporate citizens, and I have a very, very bullish view of the future of Macao and what we’re going to see going forward,” Maddox said. “I think what’s going in Macao is not punitive, it’s practical. They’re moving to a really highly regulated environment, just like we experience here in the United States,” he added.

Source: CNBC

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