Las Vegas is an adult playground built on big dreams. Almost anything you want, you can get your hands on Sin City – whatever the time of day. Even now, in the middle of a pandemic, Las Vegas is open for business. While huge conglomerates tend to run most of the resorts and casinos, there are a handful of billionaire businessmen who have played an important role in building Las Vegas into the thriving entertainment destination that ‘she is today.
From the Fertitta brothers to Steve and Elaine Wynn to Phil Ruffin to Sheldon Adelson, six of the Las Vegas billionaires have helped shape the city. The seventh billionaire is a Walton heiress whose philanthropic efforts greatly help the Las Vegas Valley. Without these billionaires, there would be neither Mirage nor Bellagio. There would be no PDUs. A number of these billionaires also have billionaire parents in other states.
Net worth: $ 2 billion
Lorenzo Fertitta took over Station Casinos with his brother Frank Fertitta III. Their father founded the company, but the brothers developed it by operating several casino hotels. Lorenzo heads the family business, Red Rock Resorts, a publicly-traded company and president of Fertitta Capital. Lorenzo is also the former CEO of the UFC until he and Frank sold him to WMG-IMG for $ 4 billion in 2016. Lorenzo attended high school in Las Vegas at Bishop Gorman High School. He received his BA from the University of San Diego and an MBA from NYU.
Frank Fertitta III
Net worth: $ 2 billion
Like his younger brother, much of Frank Fertitta III’s net worth comes from buying UFC in 2001 for $ 2 million and selling it for $ 4 billion in 2016. The family casino business operates 21 casinos and hotels, including Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa, Green Valley Ranch, Palms, Palace Station and Sunset Station, among others. Frank Fertitta III is a graduate of the University of Southern California.
Net worth: $ 2 billion
Elaine Wynn co-founded Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts with her ex-husband Steve Wynn. She was the director of Wynn Resorts, Limited, the property development company founded by her husband. Many insiders say Wynn is the company most responsible for revitalizing Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts has built or rehabilitated Las Vegas hotspots such as the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore. It is the largest shareholder in Wynn Resorts. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has two adult children. She is on the board of directors for the Basketball Hall of Fame and is co-chair of the board of directors for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Net worth: $ 2.5 billion
Phil Ruffin is a real estate investor and owner of a casino. In the early 1970s, he became the first businessman to offer self-service gas in Kansas, and his convenience store grew from one location to 60 stores across the Midwest. He used the profits from his chain of convenience stores to open a Marriot hotel in Wichita. From there, he developed into the distribution of petroleum and moving equipment. After leasing his convenience stores to another company, he bought other hotels, then the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. He has since added Treasure Island, the Trump International Tower and various other real estate developments to his impressive portfolio. He is a close friend of President Donald Trump.
Net worth: $ 3.1 billion
Steve Wynn’s personal and business contributions to the Las Vegas Strip and to the city as a whole have radically improved Las Vegas’ fortune forever. In 1971, Wynn successfully turned his profits from a land transaction involving Howard Hughes and Caesars Palace into a majority stake in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Wynn renovated, reorganized and expanded the Golden Nugget from a game room to a hotel and casino with huge success, and during this period attracted new high-end customers to downtown Las Vegas. Wynn’s first major casino on the Las Vegas Strip was The Mirage, which opened on November 22, 1989. On October 15, 1998, Wynn opened the even more opulent Bellagio. He also owns Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.
Nancy Walton Laurie
Net worth: $ 4.6 billion
Nancy Walton Laurie is the daughter of Bud Walton, one of the co-founders of Wal-Mart. After her father’s death in 1995, she and her sister took control of his portion of the company’s shares. She met her husband, Bill Laurie in college. She is a major philanthropist who supports cancer research, shelters for abused women, hospitals and higher education. Nancy and her husband live in Henderson, Nevada, and have a child.
Net worth: $ 35 billion
To put it this way, Sheldon Adelson controls about 54% of the world’s largest casino operator, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Adelson’s source of wealth comes from its partnership in the creation of the COMDEX trade fair for the IT industry. Adelson bought and razed the legendary Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, spending $ 1.5 billion to build The Venetian, a Venice-themed resort and casino, in its place. The creation of the Venetian revolutionized the Las Vegas hotel industry. He is also the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.