Steve Wynn Biography: Reviving Las Vegas

Steve Wynn is probably best known for single-handedly reviving Las Vegas
through the development of high-end resorts like the Mirage and the Bellagio.
When it comes to the casino industry, Wynn knows what he is doing. His casinos
have attracted people from all over the world, leaving them with a positive
impression as to what Las Vegas has to offer.

To learn more about Steve Wynn’s impact on Las Vegas over the years and for a
little insight into his personal life, please continue reading this thorough
biography.

Early Life

Stephen Alan Weinberg entered the world on January 27th, 1942. He was the
first-born son of a wealthy family from New Haven, Connecticut. It wasn’t until
he turned 4 years old that his father chose to change the family name to Wynn
instead of Weinberg in an effort to avoid the anti-Jewish discrimination that
was prevalent during that time.

Steve Wynn, as he would forever be known, grew accustomed to a cushy
lifestyle from a very early age. His father owned several successful bingo
parlors all over the East Coast and was eager to flaunt the family’s money
through the purchase of large mansions and luxurious vehicles. Wynn always
sported brand-name clothes and accessories and was given just about anything he
asked for. To say he was spoiled would be an understatement.

Wynn’s family eventually moved to Utica, New York, so Wynn could attend one
of the most prestigious private schools in the United States: the Manlius
School. He worked hard to get straight As, managing to graduate at the top of
his class in 1959. From there, he would attend the University of Pennsylvania,
where he would receive his Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

At the beginning of his senior year of college, Wynn was trying to decide
what his next steps would be. He was contemplating going to law school. Before
any plans were set in stone, he was devasted by the news that his father had
passed away while in the middle of his open-heart surgery. Not only did Wynn
have to deal with the loss of his father, but he also had to deal with the
$350,000 worth of unknown gambling debts that his father left behind.

Wynn’s future was practically determined for him at that point. He had to
take charge of his family business and try to dig his father out of debt. It
took him several years to accomplish this, and once it was done, he was more
than ready to embrace some new business ventures of his own.

Impact on Vegas

Wynn and his wife moved to Las Vegas in 1967. Wynn’s first piece of business
there involved him purchasing a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino.
This would be the first time he invested his hard-earned money into a Las Vegas
casino, but it certainly wouldn’t be his last.

The money he earned from the Frontier, along with the funds he earned through
his wine importation side business, gave him enough capital to buy a controlling
interest in Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget. His vision for the Golden Nugget was
clear; he wanted a fully renovated, modern-looking casino and resort that
appealed to the wealthy. The Golden Nugget was a huge success, attracting people
from all over the world. When it came time to sell the Golden Nugget in 1987,
Wynn was able to walk away from the deal with $440 million in his pocket.

Now he was ready to move to the Las Vegas Strip. His next big project was the
Mirage. His goal was to make the Mirage the most memorable casino ever to appear
on the Strip. This estimated $630 million project was a huge risk for Wynn, as
he had to use high-yield bonds to fund the project. Luckily, when the Mirage
opened its doors in 1989, Wynn quickly discovered that the risk was worth the
reward. People were drawn to the Mirage for its South Pacific theme, its
signature gold windows, its realistic replica volcano, and its tropical indoor
rainforest.

Other casinos on the Strip were forced to do renovations to compete with the
Mirage. The Strip was slowly turning into a more appealing vacation hotspot,
making it the perfect time for Wynn to start working on his first
family-friendly resort. Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, as it would soon be
called, opened in 1993 and has since been known for its epic pirate theme. Every
night, simulated pirate battles take place on the lake in front of the casino.
It has a pool, a large arcade, and planned activities for kids to participate
in. Thanks to Treasure Island, more people started bringing their families to
visit Las Vegas than ever before.

From there, Wynn moved on to one of his most noteworthy achievements: the
Bellagio. This casino opened its doors in 1998, and at $1.6 billion, it was the
world’s most expensive casino at the time. Its Italian renaissance theme and
luxurious dancing fountains have made it one of the most iconic spots on the
Strip. People are also attracted to its conservatory and botanical gardens. This
casino is yet another example of how Wynn raised the bar for other casinos in
the area.

In 2005, Wynn opened another multi-billion-dollar casino: Wynn Las Vegas.
Located on the site of the former Desert Inn, Wynn Las Vegas is a gorgeous
5-star resort that is packed full of entertainment. You’ll find everything there
from shops to theaters to the Strip’s only golf course. This casino has provided
over 9,000 job opportunities to the Las Vegas area. Wynn opened the Encore
Casino and Resort on the same property as the Wynn about three years later.
Modeled after the Wynn, Encore has many of the same features and has been able
to provide an additional 5,300 job opportunities.

Wynn’s casinos are not limited to Las Vegas. He built a second Golden Nugget
in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, and both
the Wynn Macau and Encore Macau in Macau, China. No matter where he builds his
casinos, you can expect them to be of very high quality.

Steve Wynn Gives Back

In 2011, Wynn donated $2 million to United Way of Southern Nevada. With his
generous donation, they were able to give $500 bank gift cards to 2000 families
in time for Christmas that year. The following June, an additional 2000
families, who were struggling due to the increased unemployment rate, received
$500 bank cards. United Way received hundreds of thank-you cards from families
who were impacted by his gift; they used the money to pay their bills, buy
presents for their children, and pay for childcare so that they could get back
out into the workforce.

Starting in 2013, Steve Wynn started donating $5 million per year to the
University of Iowa’s Institute of Vision Research. This facility is very
important to him because he suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which is a
degenerative eye disease that leads to tunnel vision and eventual blindness. He
understands how difficult it can be to struggle with vision problems, and he
hopes that the money he donated will be used to find a cure for his disease and
other diseases like it.

Wynn also regularly donates money to the Communities in Schools foundation,
which works with approximately 2,300 schools across the United States. Their
goal is to provide schools with the resources they need to help students who are
under the poverty level. They give out clean clothes and warm meals often and
will even provide emotional support and counseling to the students when needed.
Wynn has a soft spot for at-risk children, which is why he chose to faithfully
support this organization.

Personal Life

In 1963, Wynn married a woman named Elaine. They had two daughters together,
Kevyn and Gillian. After 23 years of marriage, the couple chose to get divorced
for unknown reasons. Just 5 short years after that, the couple would rekindle
their love and marry again. This time, their marriage lasted for about 19 years,
and the divorce was nasty. Elaine fought hard to receive more than $740 million
worth of Wynn stock in the divorce settlement and made it clear that they would
never get back together again.

Wynn did not wait long to find someone new. Soon after the divorce, he
started dating Andrea Hissom, a woman he met in the French Riviera on a business
trip. The couple quickly became serious and would eventually tie the knot in
2011 despite their 21-year age difference. They now enjoy traveling together,
going out to fancy dinners, and relaxing on their yacht.

Wynn is known for his love of fine art. He spends countless hours at private
art auctions, trying to find pieces of art that will best compliment his
casinos. He has purchased pieces from several famous artists, including Vincent
van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Johannes Vermeer. He
once accidentally bumped his elbow into one of Picasso’s pieces, puncturing a
hole in it. That incident cost him over $90,000 in repairs to fix.

Wynn recently stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts after numerous sexual
misconduct accusations were reported against him in The Wall Street Journal.
Many of Wynn’s female employees have come forward to say they were forced to
perform sexual acts to him multiple times over the years. Although Wynn made a
statement saying, “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,”
the fact that he stepped down from his CEO position does look suspicious.