Overview and Early Life
Steve Alan Wynn was born on January 27th, 1942. He is currently ranked 491st on the Forbes Billionaire list (Worth $2.5 Billion), he has done many tremendous things for Las Vegas in his lifetime, including but not limited to resurrection and expansion of the Las Vegas strip. All of his companies are well known and the most renowned in Las Vegas, they include the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore. Wynn was born Stephen Alan Weinberg, however, changed his name shortly after to Wynn to avoid anti jewish discrimination. Just before Wynn finished college his father passed away of a heart attack, after this happened Wynn decided to go into the family business which was Bingo at the time. He spent his childhood in New York then later studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Anthropology and English while being a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. (Logo pictured below)
Wynn’s first large carrer succes started in 1976 when he first moved to Las Vegas however, before this large endeavor he worked smaller jobs at smaller casinos. His first small endeavor was being involved with Frontier, a hotel in which Steve spent $75,000 to own a 5% stake in the company, entitling him to the company’s gambling profits. He was involved with Frontier for a short time, his highest position in the company being the slot machine and Keno manager, however, after the “Freidman Card Cheating Scandal” he removed himself from Frontier.
One of his first business endeavors was purchasing an old casino named the Golden Nugget. When Steve purchased this casino it was old, boring, and not attracting much business, however, once Steve renovated it and restored it the Golden Nugget became one of the most popular casinos in Las Vegas. It was attracting high end clientele and Wynn quickly became a highly sought man in Las Vegas. With this great success from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas he soon after opened one in Atlantic City on the boardwalk in 1980. Wynn continued to hold onto the Golden Nugget (Las Vegas) until 1987 when he sold it for $440 million allowing him to further pursue interest in his company’s flagship property, The Mirage, which opened in 1989.
The Mirage and Treasure Island
The Mirage was Wynn’s first major strip project, which he funded the majority of the $630 million with junk bonds (Highest amount of money spent in casino history at the time). It was considered a very high risk investment when first opened because of the extreme lengths it went to in size, luxury, etc, however, it did pay off. When this casino/hotel was opened it set a new industry standard in luxury, beauty, and size. This casino boasted beautiful fountains outside of it, an indoor forest, and an outdoor volcano. It was seen as one of the best successes Las Vegas had ever seen. This so-called “Mega-Resort” started a whole new trend for resorts in Las Vegas, making Wynn somewhat of a pioneer. The unheard of size, which is 3.044 rooms was almost frowned upon at the time, believing that it would never reach full capacity. Shortly after opening The Mirage, Wynn opened Treasure Island directly next door to it. Ironically, Treasure Island used part of The Mirage’s parking lot for a portion of the building. Treasure Island boasted high-class entertainment acts such as Cirque Du Soleil and The Battle of Buccaneer Bay. Treasure Island has been rated one of Las Vegas’s most exhilarating and exciting resorts.
The Bellagio and Mirage Resorts Inc.
As you can see, with each hotel that Wynn opened, it became more and more spectacular, breathtaking, and innovative in both luxury, wow-factor, and size. The Bellagio, which was opened in 1993 with a price tag of $1.6 billion. Once again it has an unprecedented amount of rooms at 3,950, which was a first in Las Vegas history. After this casino was opened it was quoted that Forbes Magazine said “If you want to open anything Casino related in Las Vegas, you need to speak with Steve Wynn first.”. Which shows both the power and innovative views that he had in creating remarkable resorts. The Bellagio included an indoor lake, an art gallery, high-end boutiques, and restaurants. Wynn’s company also opened smaller casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi. in 2000 Wynn sold Mirage Resorts which then became MGM Mirage, Wynn then stepped down as chairman.
Later in Wynn’s career he continued to open mega-resorts, which should be no surprise due to the fact that almost all of his business endeavors have been madly successful. Throughout his entire career, he only had to accept one buyout, and he was not pleased about it at all. In all, Steve Wynn was a pioneer for Las Vegas, many say without him Las Vegas would not be nearly the majestic and sought out vacation place it is now. Currently, Wynn is also chairman of the Moran Eye Institute at the University of Utah and a member of the Advisory Board at the canter for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, on the Board of the George Bush Presidential Library and most recently, was named Vice Chairman of the Kennedy Canter’s 2000 Corporate Fund Board. His most recent business venture was a $2.3 billion dollar resort in which he opened in 2008 during one of the worst recessions our country has ever seen. It is doing well, like most of his other projects, which leads to the great legacy that Steve Wynn has created for himself.