Casino News: Matt Maddox Resigns as Wynn CEO, Disney Seeks a Sports Betting Presence

Matt Maddox CEO of Wynn Resorts

More change is coming at one of Las Vegas’s Big Four casino companies, while local analysts predict a new boom for Sin City over the next two years. Meanwhile, a company that avoided gambling for decades is rumored to be interested in the sportsbook business.

But first, this week’s casino news starts off with another leadership change at Wynn.

Wynn Resorts CEO Announces That He Will Step Down in January

Wynn Resorts will be losing a major piece of their executive team when January comes around as their CEO, Matt Maddox (pictured above), has announced that he will be stepping away. Maddox has been the CEO of Wynn Resorts for just over four years now after taking over for the now-departed Steve Wynn after his sexual assault fallout.

Maddox’s departure is expected to be far more standard as he believes that exiting is in the best interest of both himself and the company. When Maddox officially steps away from his position, Craig Billings will become the new CEO. Billings has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2018.

Maddox is also apparently stepping away from other roles in other places too. He will continue to be a board member for both Wynn Macau Ltd and Wynn Interactive, but won’t be by the time this current year ends.

Disney Looking To Add Sports Wagering

Disney continues to telegraph that they are more than open to the idea of sports betting. In fact, there was a recent report that states the company is looking to expand their presence in this department. Disney, the parent company of ESPN, is looking to use that brand to get themselves in better positions elsewhere regarding sports gambling.

Nobody in Disney has any concerns about this impacting the brand negatively these days. After all, Disney and gambling don’t sound like they go together so well but now sports betting is legal and fully accepted by the mainstream. Disney claims to have done extensive research regarding this topic and doesn’t expect any type of drop in their stock.

It’s a far cry from the decades before the US Supreme Court legalized sports betting in May 2018, when Disney lobbied the Florida legislature to keep casinos out of the Sunshine State. At the time, Disney argued that the state should limit gambling venues because Florida wanted to attract family tourism instead of gamblers. Disney World in Orlando is a key to that family tourism.

In the era of legalized sports betting, Disney is aggressively chasing any sports betting opportunities that they can find. As of yet, there hasn’t been any early mention of a potential business partner just yet. Disney often partnered with the Seminole Tribe of Florida (Hard Rock International) in its lobbying efforts against commercial casinos, but the two groups’ interests might diverge now. Rush Street Interactive has been linked to Disney a few times but there has been no purchase of the operator at the moment.

Las Vegas Visitation Could Surpass 2019 Numbers By 2023

Las Vegas has watched its visitation numbers plummet, then increase significantly the last year and a half. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely thrown off travel to the state but that is expected to change in a major way come 2023.

Analysts have seen great rebounds during this current year in terms of visitation and expect them to keep on growing in 2022 and then 2023. With the way that the trends are moving right now, Las Vegas would see more people visit their state in the year 2023 than they did in 2019, before the pandemic.

One of the newest rules that the state has in play right now is that foreign visitors must show proof of vaccination or have a negative test within three days of boarding the plane.

UNLV economics professor Stephen Miller, said that gaming revenue in the state has been skyrocketing lately despite inconsistent visitation volume. He also mentioned that people have been gambling far more than they ever have since the pandemic has first begun.