By Sue Zeidler
Oct 24 (Reuters) - Wynn Resorts Ltd Chairman SteveWynn said Caesars Entertainment Corp's withdrawal from a$1 billion casino venture in Massachusetts was surprising andwould be discussed at his upcoming board meeting.
Caesars pulled out of its project after investigators fromthe Massachusetts Gaming Commission raised concerns about itssuitability for a state gaming license.
Wynn is currently bidding for a Massachusetts license for acasino that would be located in the Boston suburb of Everett.
"Who knows what's next there. Its very confusing. It's goingto be the subject of my board meeting on Monday and Tuesday asto 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 itis what it is," he said. "If you're in the gaming industry,there's an assumption that you're unsavory. It burns me up quitehonestly."
Caesars' application involved a casino venture with theoperator of Boston's Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Earlier, Wynn reported higher third quarter profit, boostedby results at its operations in Macau, the Chinese gamblingenclave, although some analysts were disappointed by growththere because it lagged the 20 percent overall market increasein that period.
Wynn reported net income of $182 million, or $1.79 perdiluted 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 percentincrease in its Macau operations and a 1.1 percent increase atits Las Vegas operations.
On an adjusted basis, earnings per share rose to $1.84, beating analysts consensus estimates of $1.66 a share, accordingto ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.
Chad Mollman, an analyst with Morningstar Equity, said hewas disappointed by the Macau growth, and that the Las Vegasresults also reflected a slowdown because, although visitationscontinued to trend higher, people gambled less per trip.
"Wynn has been late to recognize the significant Cotai Stripopportunity (in Macao), and we expect it to lose share to otherCotai Strip casinos," Mollman added.
Wynn is building Wynn Palace, a full-scale integrated resorton Cotai, which it expects to open in 2016.
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