Stephen Alan Wynn

Stephen Alan Wynn

Stephen Alan Wynn (born January 27, 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut) is an American casino resort developer who is credited with spearheading the dramatic resurgence and expansion of the Las Vegas, Nevada, Strip in the 1990s. His companies refurbished or built some of the most currently widely recognized resorts in Las Vegas such as the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and Wynn. As of 2008, Wynn is the 277th richest man in the world with a wealth of $3.9 billion.[1]

Early life, Frontier, and the Golden Nugget

Wynn's father Michael Weinberg ran a string of bingo parlors in eastern United States. In 1946, he had changed his name to "Wynn" presumably as a marketing strategy and a move to trump anti-Jewish bias. Wynn was raised in Utica, New York, and graduated from The Manlius School, a private boys' school east of Syracuse, New York, in 1959. He 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 shortly before Wynn graduated from Penn with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. He married Elaine Farrell Pascal the same year.
Wynn took over running the family's bingo operation in Maryland. He did well enough at it to accumulate the money to buy a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where he and Elaine moved in 1967. Between 1968 and 1972 Wynn also owned a wine and liquor importing company.
Wynn 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 The Golden Nugget 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.

The Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio
Wynn had previously acquired interests in various existing casinos. His first major Strip casino, The Mirage, which opened in 1989, set a new standard for size and lavishness, with construction costs to match. The Mirage featured an indoor forest and an outdoor "volcano," and with high-quality room appointments and an emphasis on service, the Mirage was another great success. 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 Mirage was financed largely with junk bonds issued by Michael Milken. The Mirage was considered a risky venture by the standards then prevailing in Las Vegas because of its high cost and emphasis on luxury. However, it proved to be enormously successful and made Wynn a major part of Las Vegas history.
Wynn's next project was Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. It opened in 1993 at a cost of $450 million. With its live pirate show and location next to the Mirage, Treasure Island was another success for Wynn.
Wynn expanded further on his concept of the luxury casino with Bellagio, a $1.6 billion resort, including an artificial lake, indoor conservatory, a museum-quality art gallery and branches of high-end boutiques and restaurants from Paris, France; San Francisco, California; and New York City, New York. The architect was the famous American Jon Jerde of The Jerde Partnerships. 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 Las Vegas to present
Mirage Resorts was sold to MGM Grand Inc. for $6.6 billion ($21 a share) in June 2000 to form MGM Mirage. With the money he made on that deal, and with his ability to secure ever-greater financing, Wynn built a new resort, his most expensive yet, the Wynn Las Vegas, which opened on the former site of the Desert Inn on April 28, 2005. Wynn Las Vegas is owned and operated by Wynn Resorts Limited, of which Wynn is chairman and chief executive officer. Wynn became a billionaire in 2004, when his net worth doubled to $1.3 billion.
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 5 September 2006.
In the summer of 2008, hiring began for Encore, the newest in Steve 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 is said to be hiring 3500 employees for this expansion. No firm opening date has been set.

The Wynn Art Collection
Wynn owns an impressive art collection including paintings by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Johannes Vermeer (although the authenticity of the "Vermeer" remains in dispute). [dead link] Most recently he spent a record price for a painting by J. M. W. Turner -- $35.8 million for Giudecca, La Donna Della Salute and San Giorgio.
Many of the collections 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 is the responsibility of the company.
The centerpiece of the collection is Le Rêve, the Picasso portrait that was the working name of the resort project. Wynn purchased the painting in 1997 for $48.4 million. 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 the painting to a group of reporter friends to which he had just revealed the alleged sale. 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.

Personal life
Wynn currently lives with his wife Elaine in a suite at Wynn Las Vegas, until their home in the Southern Highlands Golf Club is completed.[citation needed] He has two daughters, Kevyn and Gillian. His daughter Kevyn was kidnapped in 1993. The developer paid $1.45 million in ransom for her safe return, but the kidnappers were apprehended when one attempted to buy a Ferrari in Newport Beach, California, with cash. This story was obliquely referenced in the year 2001's Ocean's Eleven, and directly referenced in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The Ocean's Eleven character Terry Benedict (portrayed by Andy Garcia) is based on Wynn.
Wynn suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision and therefore his interaction with proximate objects. During the opening night of The Bellagio, Wynn invited many distinguished guests to the hotel and asked them to participate in a $2,500 per plate dinner in which all the proceeds would go toward fighting RP.[citation needed]

In May 2006, TIME Magazine recognized 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 in the American Gaming Association Hall of Fame.
Wynn received honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Sierra Nevada College.