Every so often someone has an idea and a plan, and will go after it no matter what the odds are. Many times situations occur in a person’s life that changesthe course from one to another without having a choice in the matter.Sometimes even if one gets misdirected due to circumstances they cannot control, they will take those events and turn into a positive and become successful which says a lot about a person’s character and mindset.
Steve Wynn is one individual who has become one of the most successful businessmen in the world. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1942, named Stephen Alan Weinberg, his father Michael changed their last name to Wynn when Stephen was six months old to avoid the anti-Jewish sentiment that was going around at that time.
He attended The Manlius School in Utica, New York where he was being raised, the school was a private boy’s school in upstate New York. Upon graduating from there he went to the University of Pennsylvania where he received a B.A. in English Literature. While he was in college he was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, during his sophomore he met his future wife Elaine Pascal which he married in 1963.
Months before his graduation his father unexpectedly passed away from heart problems leaving $350,000 in gaming debts. He left a position at Yale Law School to take charge of the family business in Waysons Corner in Maryland where he worked the bingo parlors himself calling the game while Elaine was handling the money. Within a period of time,he was able to save the business, expand it by buying out their competitor, and was able to pay off most of his father’s debt, truly an American success story.
He packed up and left with his wife where he started to work as a junior at Frontier, but unfortunately for Steve, shortly after his partners were exposed as fronts for the mob from Detroit. Being he had nothing to do with any of it, he was cleared of any connections to the mob, but because of the scandal, he to step back from the Frontier which put his career on hold for a while.
He had come in contact with E. Parry Thomas considered by many the most influential banker in Las Vegas who was the president of Bank of Las Vegas, which at the time was the only bank to extend loans to the casinos in Las Vegas. Steve Wynn was lucky as Mr. Thomas liked him, considered him like his fifth son, he helped him get a liquor distributing company and was impressed with Steve’s success which is why he was willing to help him with his ventures.
So for about four years Steve was operating a liquor and wine company that he has purchased. In 1971, he was able to make a deal with the famous Howard Hughes a client of E. Parry Thomas and a parcel of land that he owned which was next to Caesars Palace. Mr. Thomas help fund the purchase for $1.1 million but he also was able to convince Mr. Hughes to sell the property. Steve told the owners of the Caesars that he was going to build a casino right next to them to compete with them, he really had no intention of doing so but he wanted to scare them, which it did.
Within eleven months of that deal, Steve sold that property to Caesars Palace for $2.25 million which pocketed him close to $700,000, a very nice profit indeed. With that success in his back pocket, he slowly was buying shares of The Golden Nugget, on the advice of Mr. Thomas. This was a good move for Steve because at that time The Golden Nugget was a landmark casino which was on the decline as well as losing profits. Steve was able to stage a takeover and was named the chairman and then president of the Golden Nugget at the age of 31. He revamped, renovated, and expanded the casino from being just a gambling hall to a resort hotel with a casino. With the changes that were made the casino was starting to attract new and upscale clientele, once people who saw how it magnificent the place was, word of mouth traveled fast. The old dreary, smoke-filled gaming halls with people one would not want to be around were becoming a distant memory.
Mr. Wynn’s stake in the company increased so much that in 1973 he became the majority shareholder and became the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas. Not sitting on his success, in 1977, he opened the Golden Nugget’s first hotel tower, one of many which will follow over the years. This was the beginning of an amazing journey of one Steve Wynn.
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