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Wynn's net income rises 5 percent in 1st quarter

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Wynn Resorts Ltd.'s net income rose about 5 percent in the first three months of the year, as the casino operator benefited from improved revenue and higher occupancy at its resorts.

The company, led by billionaire casino impresario Steve Wynn, on Thursday reported revenue gains at its operations in Las Vegas, as well as its operations in the Asian gambling hub of Macau.

For the three months ended March 31, Wynn reported net income of $203 million, or $2 per share, up from $140.6 million, or $1.23 per share, in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding special items, the company's earnings amounted to $2.03 per share in the latest quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet forecast, on average, earnings of $1.55 per share.

Net revenue for the quarter rose to $1.38 billion, in line with Wall Street's expectations, from $1.31 billion a year earlier.

Wynn's operations in Macau generated $992.1 million in revenue, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier. The company's Las Vegas operations pulled in $386.6 million in revenue, up 6.6 percent.

In a conference call with analysts, Wynn painted a rosy picture of the company's future, and said he is confident in his ability to predict customers' desires.

"We know what the public wants," he said. "It's a matter of giving it to them."

All told, casino revenues in the first quarter totaled $176.3 million, up 11.8 percent versus the same quarter last year.

Room revenues grew 4.8 percent to $91.5 million, while the occupancy rate rose to 82.9 percent from 79.3 percent.

Revenue per available room, or revpar, increased 6 percent to $214. The metric is a key gauge of a hotel operator's performance.

The casino giant noted that it is building a casino resort in Macau's Cotai district. The company expects the resort will open in the first half of 2016.

Wynn said the new hotel will become a "must-see attraction."

"We wanted to make sure that when people looked at our lake, our fountains, that they saw something that was irresistible for them," he said.

He added that the luxury and spectacle of his two casinos in Las Vegas — Wynn and Encore— draw customers from all over the world.

"Without the international market, we would be in an entirely different position," he said. "But we are, in addition to a few other properties on the Strip, the hotel of choice for well-to-do international travelers."

Also on Thursday, Wynn said the company will pay a dividend of $1 per share on May 23 to shareholders of record as of May 9.

Shares of Wynn Resorts ended regular trading up $3.41, or 2.6 percent, at $134.91. The stock slipped 41 cents to $135.50 in after-market trading. Shares are up about 20 percent this year.

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