Stephen Alan Wynn
He is known for his involvement in the American luxury casino and hotel industry.
Stephen Alan Wynn (born January 27, 1942) is an American real estate businessman and art collector. He is known for his involvement in the American luxury casino and hotel industry. Early in his career he oversaw the construction and operation of several notable Las Vegas and Atlantic City hotels, including the Golden Nugget, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, The Mirage, Treasure Island, the Bellagio, and Beau Rivage in Mississippi, and he played a pivotal role in the resurgence and expansion of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. In 2000, Wynn sold his company, Mirage Resorts, to MGM Grand Inc., resulting in the formation of MGM Mirage (now MGM Resorts International). Wynn later took his company Wynn Resorts public in an initial public offering, and was Wynn Resorts’ CEO and Chairman of the Board until February 6, 2018, when he announced his resignation. He is a prominent donor to the Republican Party, and was the finance chair of the Republican National Committee from January 2017 to January 2018, when he resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Through Wynn Resorts, he has overseen the construction and development of several luxury resorts, opening Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, Wynn Macau in 2006, Encore Las Vegas in 2008, Encore at Wynn Macau in 2010 and Wynn Palace in Macau in 2016, and Wynn Everett near Boston which opened in June of 2018 under the name Encore Boston Harbor. In 2006, Wynn was inducted into the American Gaming Association Hall of Fame. As of September 2015, Wynn’s net worth was estimated by Forbes at $2.4 billion, making him the 279th wealthiest American. Steve Wynn collects fine art, often exhibiting pieces by artists such as Picasso and Claude Monet in Wynn Resorts’ hotels.
In 2018, Wynn was accused by dozens of people of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to forcible assault to coercing a female employee into sex; he denies the allegations. Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts on February 6, 2018 because of these allegations. His name was also removed from a plaza on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and his honorary degree from the school was rescinded
Wynn and his young family moved in 1967 to Las Vegas where his success with his family’s business allowed him to purchase a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino. That year he met E. Parry Thomas, dubbed by Vanity Fair as “the most influential banker in Las Vegas.” Thomas was the president of the Bank of Las Vegas, which was the only bank at the time willing to extend loans to Las Vegas casinos, and Thomas helped finance several of Wynn’s early land deals. Starting in 1968, Wynn also spent four years operating a wine and liquor importing company he had purchased.
In 1971, Wynn managed to parlay his profits from a land deal involving Howard Hughes and Caesars Palace into a controlling interest in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, a landmark downtown casino and one of the oldest casinos in the city. Wynn renovated, revamped and expanded the Golden Nugget from a gambling hall to a resort hotel and casino with enormous success, in the process attracting a new upscale clientele to downtown Las Vegas. His company stake increased so that, in 1973, he became the majority shareholder, and the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas. In 1977 he opened the Golden Nugget’s first hotel tower, followed by several others. Frank Sinatra was a periodic headliner at the Golden Nugget, and Wynn has since maintained a relationship with the Sinatra family, even naming a restaurant at Encore “Sinatra”.
In 1980, Wynn began construction on the Golden Nugget Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was Atlantic City’s first casino “built from scratch,” first and only “locals casino”, and the city’s sixth casino after the city legalized gambling in 1976. Joel Bergman, who designed Wynn’s other resorts, designed the Golden Nugget. Though at its opening it was the second smallest casino in the city, by 1983 it was the city’s top earning casino. The Atlantic City Golden Nugget was sold by Wynn in 1987 for $440 million.
In 1989, the company acquired the Nevada Club casino in Laughlin, Nevada, and re-branded it as the Golden Nugget Laughlin.
Wynn’s first major casino on the Las Vegas Strip was The Mirage, which opened on November 22, 1989. It was the first time Wynn was involved with the design and construction of a casino, and he financed the $630 million project largely with high-yield bonds issued by Michael Milken. The resort’s high cost and emphasis on luxury meant that it was considered high risk at the time, though the project ended up being enormously lucrative. The hotel, with its erupting volcano and South Seas theme, ignited a $12 billion building boom on the Strip. Its construction is also considered noteworthy in that Wynn had set a new standard for Vegas resorts, and when it opened The Mirage was the first casino to use security cameras full-time on all table games. Known for its entertainment, the hotel became the main venue for the Siegfried & Roy show in 1990, and in 1993 the hotel hosted the Cirque du Soleil show Nouvelle Expérience. Afterwards Wynn invited Cirque to create Mystère for the soon-to-be-built Treasure Island resort next door. After Mirage, Wynn’s next project Treasure Island Hotel and Casino opened in the Mirage’s old parking lot on October 27, 1993, at an overall cost of $450 million. Intended to be family-friendly, pools in front of the casino enacted the Battle of Buccaneer Bay with two full-sized sailing ships, while the interior featured romantic tropical island theming. The establishment was the home of the first permanent Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, and the show went on to be voted nine times as the best production show in the city by the Las Vegas Review Journal reader’s poll.
In 1995, the company proposed to build the Le Jardin hotel-casino in the marina area if the state of New Jersey built a road that connected to the hotel-casino. The company had also agreed to allow Circus Circus Enterprises and Boyd Gaming to build casinos on the site, but later reneged on the agreement. While the road, called the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector, was eventually built, Le Jardin was cancelled after the company was acquired in 2000 by MGM Grand Inc., which later built the Borgata, in a joint venture with Boyd Gaming, on the site.
On October 15, 1998, Wynn opened the even more opulent Bellagio, a $1.6 billion resort considered among the world’s most spectacular hotels. The architect was Jon Jerde of The Jerde Partnerships, and construction was handled by Wynn’s company Mirage Resorts, Inc. When built, the Bellagio was the most expensive hotel in the world. In front of the hotel are the Fountains of Bellagio—shooting fountains choreographed to music that “dance” on the hotel’s 8.5 acre man-made lake—which are now considered Las Vegas landmarks. The Bellagio is credited with starting a new spree of luxurious developments in Las Vegas. Among these developments include The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, and Paris Las Vegas.
Wynn brought Mirage Resorts’ style to Biloxi, Mississippi in 1999, where he oversaw development of the 1,835-room Beau Rivage. Themed to blend Mediterranean beauty with Southern hospitality, the resort was part of a building boom that established Biloxi as a regional tourism center along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Beau Rivage was originally the name Wynn wanted to give the Bellagio, though he had decided on Bellagio after vacationing in the Italian region of the same name. Beau Rivage opened as the largest hotel-casino to be built outside Nevada. The casino was initially located on a series of floating barges, as local law confined all casinos to mobile marine vessels at the time. The hotel, restaurants, and associated facilities were constructed on land.
Mirage Resorts was sold to MGM Grand Inc. for $6.6 billion ($21 per share) in June 2000 to form MGM Mirage. Five weeks before the deal was closed (April 27, 2000) Wynn purchased the Desert Inn for $270 million. He closed the Inn in only 18 weeks, and with the money he made on that deal, and with his ability to secure ever-greater financing, Wynn took Wynn Resorts Limited public in 2002. Wynn became a billionaire in 2004, when his net worth doubled to $1.3 billion. After several years of construction, on April 28, 2005 he opened his most expensive resort at the time, the Wynn Las Vegas, on the site of the former Desert Inn. Built at a cost of $2.7 billion, it was the largest privately funded construction project in the nation. Among clubs, restaurants, and theater venues, the casino was connected to the Wynn Golf Course, which was the only golf course on the Las Vegas Strip at the time it closed on December 17, 2017, built on the site of the former Desert Inn course. It was designed by Wynn and Tom Fazio. Other features include The Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas, which has 296 suites; each with a private driveway with Rolls-Royce house cars and chauffeurs, as well as private entrances with koi ponds.
Wynn successfully bid for one of three gaming concessions opened for tender in Macau, a former Portuguese colony and now a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, which has a long history of gaming and is the largest gaming market in the world, having surpassed Las Vegas in 2006. This property, known as Wynn Macau, opened on September 5, 2006. A year later Wynn Macau underwent a significant expansion, increasing retail amenities, food and beverage options, and gaming space. In 2008 Wynn Macau became the fifth Asian hotel to receive the Mobil Five-Star award, with Wynn accepting the award on behalf of Wynn Macau.
In the summer of 2008, hiring began for Encore Las Vegas, the newest in Wynn’s collection of resorts. The tower of Encore is modeled after the Wynn Las Vegas tower, and in fact, they share the same “property” though they are separate hotels. After having started construction in 2006, the overall cost of the project equalled $2.3 billion. Encore opened on December 22, 2008. As of December 31, 2012, Wynn and Encore Las Vegas employed approximately 9,000 full-time employees. Together with the adjacent Wynn Las Vegas casino, the entire Wynn resort complex has a total of 4,750 rooms, making it the world’s sixth-largest hotel. Encore at Wynn Macau, an expansion of Wynn Macau similar to the expansion of the Las Vegas property, opened on April 21, 2010.
In early 2011, Wynn announced that he was expecting the Macau government to approve a Wynn Resorts application to build a new resort in the Cotai Strip in the People’s Republic of China. After receiving approval in May 2012 to break ground on the 51-acre property, a year later Leighton Holdings finalized a design and build contract worth 2.6 billion USD to construct Wynn Palace on the site. The resort, which opened in August 2016, includes an aerial transport system with gondolas shaped like smoke-breathing dragons, pedestal gardens, a 30,000 square meter performance lake, among other features.
In September 2014, Wynn was awarded the license to build the Wynn Boston Harbor casino in the eastern Massachusetts city of Everett, near downtown Boston. On February 6, 2018, Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts.No tags for this post.