Steve Wynn is one of the prime builders of today's Las Vegas.
Born in 1942 to a father who ran bingo parlors in the northeast, and raised in Utica, New York, Wynn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. He and his wife, Elaine, arrived in Las Vegas to live in 1967. He worked as a slot machine and keno manager in his early days there.
With banker E. Parry Thomas as a mentor, he pulled off a land deal with Howard Hughes and Caesars Palace in 1971, that got him enough money and influence to pull off the deal that got him control of the Golden Nugget. Before the end of the decade, he brought the annual profit of the Nugget from a little over one million to twelve million. During that period, the Nugget was beautifully renovated and enlarged.
Wynn built another Golden Nugget in Atlantic City in 1980. By 1984, he was estimated to be worth about one hundred million dollars. In 1986, he bought the large piece of land next to Caesars Palace, across the Strip from the Desert Inn. He then sold the Atlantic City Nugget for a reported four hundred and forty million and used much of the money on the dream resort, the Mirage, in 1989. The three thousand room Mirage was the first major resort built on the Strip since the original MGM Grand (now Bally's) at Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.
The 90s saw Wynn build the Treasure Island next to the Mirage and another "dream," the Bellagio, on the corner of Flamingo and the Strip on the site of the demolished Dunes. Bellagio was luxury and class added to the Strip. Mirage and Treasure Island were major contributors to the "family Las Vegas" image that the casino industry wanted to build. The three resorts also brought three free attractions to Strip strollers: Mirage volcano, Treasure Island's Pirate show and Bellagio's dancing water show.
The building of the Mirage has stirred many others to build and renovate on the Strip. The new MGM Grand, the Excaliber, and Mandalay Bay all went up. The Strip went through a major change in the 90s. Steve Wynn may have well been the major player in that change.
The new century saw the MGM/Mirage merger take place and Wynn was out of the business. He had done well in his 33 years in Las Vegas up to that point. He had been partially responsible for the tremendous growth of the Las Vegas Valley's population and building boom. He had created thousands of jobs.
He raised two daughters, one of which was kidnapped in the early 90s. Wynn paid the one million, four-hundred and fifty thousand dollar ransom, securing her safe return, and saw the kidnappers later sentenced to long prison terms.
Wynn bought the Desert Inn property, and he built his biggest dream ever, Wynn Las Vegas.