Profile of a Legend – The Gambler, Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn

Posted: March 3, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development




“Money doesn’t make people happy. People make people happy.”


Steve Wynn has built an empire worth an estimated $2.6B with serendipity and entrepreneurial grit.


Born in New Haven, CT in 1942, Wynn would eventually graduate from University of Pennsylvania with plans to attend Yale Law. However, Steve’s father passed away before his UPenn graduation leaving him with $350,000 in gambling debt which forced him to take over and operate the family’s many Bingo Parlors mostly surrounding Wayson’s Corner, Maryland. Wynn would expand the business before moving his family to Las Vegas in 1967.


It was in Las Vegas that Wynn entered the casino business by buying a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino with the profits he eventually made in the family business. By 1971, Wynn had managed to profit enough from the Frontier and several well-orchestrated land deals to gain a controlling interest in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Through a series of renovations, he would attract high-end clientele to the Golden Nugget and would increase his stake to become the majority owner by 1973. In 1977 Wynn opened the casino’s first hotel tower which would be followed later by several more hotels. Around that time, Steve built a lasting friendship with the Sinatra family before focusing east towards Atlantic City where he developed the Atlantic City Golden Nugget which he would later sell for $440MM.


Wynn would go on to build the Mirage, the Bellagio and several other well-known hotels and casinos before selling his company, Mirage Resorts, to MGM Grand for $6.6B in 2000. He would then form Wynn Resorts Limited which he would take public in 2002 becoming a billionaire two years later. Most of Wynn’s empire was built with his ex-wife, Elaine, who he would marry twice and who sat on the board of directors for 13 years. Today Wynn is remarried, an active art collector, and was also the inspiration for Andy Garcia’s character in Ocean’s Trilogy.


Wynn’s rise to prominence can be attributed to his smarts, honesty, big vision, guts, a strong support network, and of course some luck.



“Keep it simple. Tell the truth. People can smell the truth.”

“This office is smaller than the last one I had. I’m not trying to impress people. I want to be close to them.”

“Other people’s successes are good news – for them and for you. Good for you because they show you a way to go.”

“If I complain about a traffic jam, I have no one to blame but myself.”

“Change is not threatening.”

“I am a self-made brat.”

Join the conversation
Email to someoneShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+