Posted on: October 31, 2022, 05:09h. 

Last updated on: October 31, 2022, 06:33h.

Former Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) CEO Matt Maddox may be looking to get back into the casino business. He could be mulling the purchase of a gaming venue in downtown Las Vegas to accomplish that objective.

Maddox downtown casino
Former Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox, seen here at the opening of Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019. He may be looking to buy a casino in downtown Las Vegas. (Image: CNBC)

Maddox departed Wynn earlier this year and was replaced in the top spot by Craig Billings. Earlier this afternoon, Vital Vegas reported the former Wynn boss could be eying a purchase in “old Vegas.” The speculation is that Maddox is working with a local commercial real estate broker as a possible prelude to bidding on a casino.

Following his surprising departure from the Encore operator, it was believed Maddox, 46, would pursue ventures outside the gaming industry. Speculation tied him to Nevada politics and a high-level role with the Las Vegas Raiders.

He didn’t jump into politics this year, and the Raiders role some speculated he’d be in the running for — team president — was filled by Sandra Douglass Morgan.

What’s Available Downtown

While the pace of Strip transactions was solid over the past couple of years, the same cannot be said of downtown Las Vegas.

That’s not to say properties in the Fremont Street area can’t be had for the right price. But as Vital Vegas notes, Boyd Gaming — the dominant operator there — isn’t a likely seller. The same is probably true of Derek Stevens, who controls Circa, The D, and the Golden Gate. The Plaza is also off limits, and that’s also the case for El Cortez.

Binion’s and Four Queens could be in play, but both are controlled by the same owner — TLC Casino Enterprises — and, as Vital Vegas reports – there are thorny issues related to the venues’ property assets, which could be off-putting to a prospective suitor.

The potential wild card could be Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta. His Fertitta Entertainment Inc. is in the process of developing a new integrated resort on the Strip and could defray some of what’s likely to be a lofty price tag by unloading Golden Nugget. Interestingly, he purchased a 6.1% passive stake in Wynn Resorts earlier this month.

Maddox May Need Partner

Maddox’s estimated net worth is in the $110 million to $115 million range. Impressive, to be sure, and that figure could ebb and flow depending upon whether or not he liquidates any remaining Wynn shares he may currently own.

In other words, his personal liquidity situation is stout. But it remains to be seen how much of it Maddox is willing to put on the line to purchase a casino in downtown Las Vegas, and at what price point such a venue will change hands.

Along those lines, it’s possible Maddox could take on a partner to mitigate some of the cost of acquiring a downtown casino, and he’s got the Rolodex to make that happen. But it’s just speculation at this point.