Thursday, April 25, 2013

The mystique of Steve Wynn


[Image: 614px-Steve_Wynn_Portrait.jpg]

The mystique of Steve Wynn

By Gilberto Rasmussen
The Daily Magi
October 28, 2041


Stephen Alan "Steve" Wynn (born January 27, 1942) is an American business magnate. He played a pivotal role in the 1990s resurgence and expansion of the Las Vegas Strip. His companies refurbished or built what are now widely recognized resorts in Las Vegas, including the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore.

Now, as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wynn Resorts, Limited, Wynn has developed Wynn Las Vegas, which opened on April 28, 2005; Wynn Macau, which opened in September 2006; Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, which opened December 22, 2008; and Encore at Wynn Macau, which opened on April 21, 2010.

As of March 2012, Wynn is the 491st richest man in the world with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Wynn was born Stephen Alan Weinberg in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, Michael, who ran a string of bingo parlors in eastern United States, changed the family's last name in 1946 from "Weinberg" to "Wynn" when Steve was six months old "to avoid anti-Jewish discrimination". Wynn was raised in Utica, New York, and graduated from The Manlius School, a private boys' school east of Syracuse, New York, in 1959. Steve Wynn studied cultural anthropology and English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity.

In 1963, his father died of complications from open heart surgery in Minneapolis, leaving $350,000 of gaming debts, shortly before Wynn graduated from Penn with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.

Wynn took over running the family's bingo operation in Maryland. His success allowed him to invest in a small stake for the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where he and his wife Elaine moved in 1967. Between 1968 and 1972 he also owned and operated a wine and liquor importing company. He managed to parlay his profits from a land deal in 1971 (the deal involved Howard Hughes and Caesars Palace) into a controlling interest in the landmark downtown casino, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas (he also owned Golden Nugget Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey). 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.

Wynn had previously acquired interests in various existing casinos. His first major Strip casino was The Mirage, which opened in November 1989. The hotel, with its erupting volcano and South Seas theme, ignited a $12 billion building boom on the Strip.

The Mirage was the first project in which he was involved in the design and construction of a casino. The $630 million cost to build the facility was financed largely with junk bonds issued by Michael Milken. The property was considered a high-risk venture by the standards then prevailing in Las Vegas because of its high cost and emphasis on luxury. However, it became enormously lucrative and made Wynn a major part of Las Vegas history.

In 1991, Golden Nugget, Incorporated was renamed Mirage Resorts, Incorporated.

Wynn's next project was Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, which opened in October 1993 at a cost of $450 million. At the front corner of the resort, the Battle of Buccaneer Bay was acted out on a full-sized pirate ship. Inside the Four-Diamond property is a casino resort with a romantic tropical theme. The Cirque du Soleil show at the Treasure Island was the first permanent Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas.

In October 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. When built, Bellagio was the most expensive hotel in the world. Today, visitors line the street in front of the hotel to watch the “Fountains of Bellagio”—shooting fountains choreographed to music that “dance” on the hotel’s 8.5 acre man-made lake. 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.

In 1999, Wynn brought Mirage Resorts’ style to Biloxi, Mississippi, where he oversaw development of the 1,835-room Beau Rivage. Blending 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 he wanted to give to the Bellagio but after Wynn vacationed in Italy, he decided Bellagio, after the Italian region of Bellagio, was the better name for the hotel.

Mirage Resorts was sold to MGM Grand Inc. for $6.6 billion ($21 a 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. On April 28, 2005 he opened his most expensive resort to that date, the Wynn Las Vegas, on the site of the former Desert Inn.

Wynn successfully bid for one of three gaming concessions that were opened for tender in Macau, 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.

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). Wynn hired 3500 employees for this property. Encore opened on December 22, 2008.

Wynn Encore Macau opened on April 21, 2010.

Recently he spent a record price for a painting by J. M. W. Turner, $35.8 million for the Giudecca, La Donna Della Salute and San Giorgio and spent $33.2 million on a Rembrandt, the auction record for the artist.

Many of the collection's pieces were on display at the Bellagio. The collection was on display at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno while the Wynn Las Vegas was being constructed and was installed in the resort shortly before it was opened. The Wynn Las Vegas gallery, which had charged an entrance fee, closed shortly after the start of 2006. The artwork from the former gallery is now scattered around the resort. Although the artwork is owned personally by Wynn, Wynn Resorts pays an annual lease of $1. As part of the lease agreement, insurance and security are the responsibility of the company.

The centerpiece of the collection is Le RĂªve, the Picasso portrait that was the working name of the resort project. Wynn purchased the painting in 1997 for $48.4 million at the Christie's auction of the Ganz-collection on November 11, 1997. In 2006 he reportedly was to sell it to Steven A. Cohen for $139 million, which would at that time have been the highest price paid for any piece of art. However, he put his elbow through the canvas while showing it to his guests, including the screenwriter Nora Ephron and her husband Nick Pileggi, the broadcaster Barbara Walters, the art dealer Serge Sorokko and his wife, the model Tatiana Sorokko, the New York socialite Louise Grunwald and the lawyer David Boies and his wife, Mary.

This canceled the sale, and after a $90,000 repair, the painting was estimated to be worth $85 million. Wynn sued his insurance company over the $54 million difference with the virtual selling price, possibly exceeding his own buying price. The case was settled out of court in April 2007.

In 2005, the Association of Travel Marketing Executives awarded Steve Wynn the ATLAS Lifetime Achievement Award for his innovation in building resorts in Las Vegas.

In May 2006, Time magazine included Wynn as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People.

Wynn was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by President George W. Bush on October 30, 2006.

In November 2006, Wynn was inducted into the American Gaming Association Hall of Fame.

Wynn was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s 250th Commencement Ceremony in recognition of his transformative vision of Las Vegas in 2006 and has since received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Sierra Nevada College; The Culinary Institute of America; and Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Forbes Magazine named him a “Captain of Capitalism” in 2007.

In 2009, Wynn received the Manfred Steinfeld Humanitarian Award at the 22nd Annual Platinum Circle Awards.

On July 26, 2009, a segment on Wynn was aired on the CBS News series 60 Minutes.

Wynn was named to Institutional Investor's Best CEOs list in the All-America Executive Team Survey from 2008 through 2011.

In March 2011, Barron's named Steve Wynn one of the 30 “World’s Best CEOs” while Fortune simultaneously recognized Wynn Resorts as one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies.”

In September 2012, Wynn Resorts is sole Nevada company on Fortune Magazine's List of "100 Fastest-Growing Companies".

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