60 Minutes Steve Wynn - The casino mogul spectacular success
Casino Developer Stephen A. Wynn is widely credited with transforming Las Vegas into a world-renowned resort and convention destination. As Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Mirage Resorts, Incorporated, he envisioned and built The Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio, resorts that set progressively higher standards for quality, luxury, and entertainment.
Mr. Wynn began his career in 1967 as part owner, Slot Manager, and Assistant Credit Manager of the Frontier Hotel. Between 1968 and 1972 he also owned and operated a wine and liquor importing company. But it was an entrepreneurial real estate transaction with Howard Hughes in 1971 that produced sufficient profits for a major investment in the landmark Golden Nugget Casino. Once known only as a “gambling joint,” Mr. Wynn transformed the Golden Nugget into a Four Diamond resort known for elegance and personal service. By 1973, at age 31, Mr. Wynn controlled the property and began developing the Golden Nugget as a complete hotel resort.
In 1978, Stephen Wynn used profits from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas to build the 506-room Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The resort became known for its elegant facilities and its impressive lineup of superstar entertainment. From its opening in December 1979, until its sale in 1986, the Atlantic City property dominated the market in revenues and profits in spite of its smaller size.
In 1987, Mr. Wynn sold the Atlantic City Golden Nugget, which had cost $160 million, to Bally for $450 million and turned his creativity to developing what would become the company’s flagship property—The Mirage. Opened in November 1989, the elegant hotel, with its imaginative erupting volcano and South Seas theme, ignited a $12 billion building boom that catapulted Las Vegas to America’s number one tourist destination and fastest growing city. In 1991, Golden Nugget Incorporated was renamed Mirage Resorts, Incorporated.
In October 1993, Stephen Wynn opened Treasure Island, establishing a new paradigm by which casino theme resorts are designed. At the front corner of the resort, the Battle of Buccaneer Bay was acted out on a full size pirate ship. Inside, the Four Diamond property, with its romantic tropical theme, is one of the city’s most electrifying casino resorts.
In October 1998, Mr. Wynn raised the bar again when he opened the opulent Bellagio, a $1.6 billion resort considered among the world’s most spectacular hotels. With its sumptuous guest rooms, high end retail stores, and traditional European feel, Bellagio appealed to an audience that long overlooked Las Vegas as a vacation destination. Today, visitors line the street in front of the hotel to watch another Steve Wynn attraction, the “Dancing Waters”—shooting fountains, choreographed to music, that “dance” on the hotel’s 8.5-acre man-made lake.
In 1999, Stephen Wynn brought Mirage Resorts’ standard of style to beautiful and historic Biloxi, Mississippi where he oversaw development of the 1,835-room Beau Rivage. Blending Mediterranean beauty with Southern hospitality, the resort was the centerpiece of a building boom that established Biloxi as a regional tourism center along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In June 2000, Mr. Wynn sold Mirage Resorts, Incorporated to MGM for $6.6 billion and purchased Las Vegas’s legendary Desert Inn Resort and Casino. The Desert Inn was closed in August 2000 and, on this site, he developed Wynn Las Vegas, a 2,700-room luxury casino resort intended to be among the world’s preeminent luxury hotel resorts when it opened in April 2005. Concurrently, Wynn Resorts is developing its Asian flagship casino resort in Macau where the company has been awarded a 20-year concession by the Macau government.
Stephen A. Wynn was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. He is married and has two daughters. He is active in the community and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Sierra Nevada College in northern Nevada. He is also the chairman of the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Institute, a Trustee of his Alma Mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on the Board of the George Bush Presidential Library.
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