Posts Tagged ‘Steve Wynn’

August 23, 2013

Wynn Eager to Go Online in New Jersey (with New Interactive Company)

Atlantic City suddenly more attractive with internet gaming in play

Steve Wynn, going state-by-state.

Steve Wynn, going state-by-state with license applications.

After recently describing Atlantic City’s casinos as “the enemy,” Steve Wynn is now looking to cash in on online gambling in New Jersey.

The state, which has seen gaming revenues from its traditional brick-and-mortar casinos decline steadily over the last few years, legalized online gambling earlier this year and some sites are expected to debut this fall.

A subsidiary of Wynn Resorts Ltd., Wynn Interactive LLC, is one of 37 firms that have applied for an online gaming license in New Jersey. Currently, Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts does not own a casino in Atlantic City.

As a result, the company would have to partner with an existing casino licensee in New Jersey in order to offer online game. Atlantic City has 12 properties, with only Revel and Atlantic Club without online partners.

Wynn Resorts operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. The gaming company is building Wynn Palace, a $4 billion casino-resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau, as well as seeking approval to build resorts in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.


Follow reporter Chris Sieroty on Twitter @sierotyfeatures.


July 10, 2013

Retiring AGA Leader Changed the Face of Casino Industry

Fahrenkopf continues farewell tour as new era for gaming emerges

photo: Peter Urban / Stephens Media Washington Bureau

photo: Peter Urban / Stephens Media Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The wall of framed photos with political heavyweights from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to Barack Obama — reputedly one of the more impressive collections in town accumulated over 30 years — has been taken down.

Two dozen boxes of papers and memorabilia are stacked on tables, on the floor, and atop filing cabinets, awaiting delivery to a warehouse in McLean, Va., where they will join another 35 boxes being transferred from storage in Maryland.

Among the few items not wrapped and packed in Frank Fahrenkopf’s corner office, which is located a block off Pennsylvania Avenue, are the custom desk from London he had crafted 24 years ago, an American flag standing in the corner and a knickknack of herding elephants signifying the job he once held as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Fahrenkopf, who turns 74 next month, is downshifting after nearly two decades as the face of casino gambling in Washington and one of the most prominent Nevadans in the nation’s capital. The president and CEO of the American Gaming Association until he stepped aside on July 1 is plotting what comes next.

Over the years, he has alternately put out fires and served as a missionary for the commercial casino industry that once was concentrated in Nevada but now is an economic driver in almost half the states.

“It was a perfect storm in a way that when the industry needed to have someone, I happened to be here,” Fahrenkopf said in a recent interview.

But after staying on the job for an extra year in the for-now-dashed hope of helping to guide the industry into federally recognized online poker, he was completing his tenure.

“It just reached a point where 18 years is a long time. It’s always good to have fresh people come in,” Fahrenkopf said of the job he took when it was created in 1995 with the intention of staying just a year.

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April 14, 2013

The Man Who Lost $127 Million

Opinion: Responsible Gambling and the Duty of Care

Robert Turner OP-ED

Robert Turner

OP-ED

Putting a 24-hour casino in every home comes with great responsibility. Ensuring a safe, responsible gambling experience should be of paramount importance. Online gambling companies talk incessantly about revenue, but it is everyone’s responsibility–from regulatory bodies to operators, from governments to the citizens themselves–to require that all proper consumer protections and safeguards are in place before online gambling can go live. It is imperative that all stakeholders in online gambling be well versed not just in its benefits but in its pitfalls as well.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic illustrations of what happens when a gaming company puts revenue before responsibility is the case of Terrance Watanabe who is reported to have lost most of his personal fortune recklessly gambling in Las Vegas. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal published December 5, 2009, “During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.” While Steve Wynn is reported to have barred Watanabe from his casino for compulsive gambling, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. welcomed him and derived 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from him that year.

This case showed such an egregious lack of sound business judgment on the part of Harrah’s, now Caesars Entertainment, that the company was fined $225,000 by New Jersey regulators in March of this year. Gary Thompson, Director of Corporate Communications for Caesars Entertainment said, “Because of the confidential settlement agreement we reached with Watanabe, neither he nor we can make any official comment.” However, he points out that Caesars hired an outside agency to investigate the situation and made procedural changes deemed necessary to prevent recurrences.

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Posted by at 1:00 pm

January 15, 2013

Wynn Looks to Challenge Caesars with $1 Billion Resort in Massachusetts

Lone Boston license up for grabs

wynn_resorts_logoAs Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn confirms his intentions to build a $1 billion hotel-casino in Massachusetts, a key issue ahead will be obtaining local approval, a Las Vegas-based gaming industry analyst said Friday.

“To that end, there have been press reports in recent weeks suggesting that neighboring locations could oppose Wynn’s site,” Union Gaming Group principal Bill Lerner said in a research report. “In addition, Wynn is already bidding for a license in Philadelphia, and typically prefers to develop two projects (at most) at the same time.”

Wynn Resorts is developing its $3 billion hotel-casino complex on 51 acres on the Cotai Strip in Macau and has casino projects in Philadelphia and perhaps Massachusetts.

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January 9, 2013

Wynn Wants Company Jets

More valuable the Vegas golf course real estate?

SteveWynnSteve Wynn, founder and chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd., on Friday terminated an option to buy a 2-acre tract on the company’s golf course in Las Vegas in return for the right to purchase any or all of the company’s aircraft.

The aircraft purchase option may be exercised upon 30 days written notice and at a price equal to their book filing, the Las Vegas-based gaming company said in a regulatory filing. The option for the jets will terminate when Wynn’s employment agreement with the company ends.

The deal was approved by the audit committee of the board of directors, according to the three-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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November 20, 2012

Wynn Makes Play for Last Casino License in Philly

Waterfront property primed for luxe resort

Steve Wynn is going to bid for the last casino license in Philadelphia.

The chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd. proposes to build a 150,000-square-foot casino with 900 slot machines and 100 table games and a 300-room hotel on about 60 acres of waterfront property, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday.

Michael Weaver, senior vice president marketing strategy at Wynn Resorts, said the company will file for a casino license by the state’s Nov. 15 deadline. The Las Vegas-based gaming company had proposed building a $600 million casino in the spring of 2010 in Philadelphia before pulling out.

“We are excited about Philadelphia and the opportunity afforded by our piece of property on the banks of the Delaware River,” said Wynn, who is also his company’s CEO. “It allows for a luxury hotel complex and the introduction of the Wynn brand to Philadelphia.”

Wynn said his assignment was to build a resort that attracted visitors to the city.

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November 17, 2012

Piles of Cash, Torrents of Tweets, and a Whole Lotta Crazy

Inside Gaming: Industry loonies emerge from political fray

Hard as it seems, Peter Carlino and the folks at Penn National Gaming outdid Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn and Donald Trump in terms of political lunacy this year.

And it only cost the regional gaming giant $42 million to embarrass itself.

Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., dumped at least $53 million of his own money into a variety of super PACs that supported Republican candidates around the country, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Other than U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., all his picks fell flat.

Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., seemed to spend more time appearing on Fox News than in his company’s boardroom. Wynn used any and every occasion to attack President Barack Obama’s policies.

“It would be a complete disaster if Obama wins, which is why I’m urging my employees to vote for Romney,” Wynn told the Huffington Post the week before the election.

Obama beat Romney in Nevada by more than 66,000 votes.

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A Hall of Famer’s Lifelong Path through Vegas Poker Rooms

Eric Drache introduced concept of satellites to the WSOP

Photo: IMPDI / WSOP.com

Eric Drache had one thought when then-Golden Nugget executive Bobby Baldwin suggested he manage the Fremont Street casino’s poker room in the early 1980s.

How long could he last working for Steve Wynn?

Baldwin, the 1978 World Series of Poker champion, thought Drache, who was the annual tournament’s director, could give Wynn’s poker facility a much needed lift.

Drache was perplexed. He was an expert seven-card stud player and had managed the old Silver Bird Casino poker room. But this was big time.

“Are you kidding?” Drache recalled saying. “Steve will fire us within 10 minutes.”

Baldwin and Drache recalled that story last month during a ceremony at the Rio celebrating Drache’s induction into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Drache, 69, joined the late Brian “Sailor” Roberts as the 43rd and 44th members of the Hall of Fame, which is managed by the World Series of Poker.

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September 4, 2012

Inside Gaming: As Feds Investigate Big Casino Biz Practices,
Steve Wynn Goes Mute with Obama Opposition

Until recently, it appeared Steve Wynn had abandoned politics.

Wynn spent three years as the de facto voice of the gaming industry’s unofficial anti-Obama coalition, a high-profile membership of two than included Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson.

Wynn provided the rhetoric. Adelson provided the money.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd., never missed an opportunity to appear on Fox News or other conservative media outlets to bash President Barack Obama’s administration for what he considers its failings in handling the economy.

Wynn often peppered his remarks with bombastic comments.

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April 9, 2012

Billionaire Break-ups

Navy Seals on the lookout for Steve Wynn drama bombs

Trouble at Spring Mountain and Paradise … But is Seal Team Six really necessary to protect a casino boss with relationship problems?

It seems now wherever he goes, Steve Wynn has a team of bodyguards trailing behind him. And according to this article, Steve is supposedly drawing his protection from a pool of ex-Navy Seals.

The added security detail is coincident with his high-profile tiff  with Wynn’s one-time partner Kazou Okada. After the two exchanged dueling lawsuits, Wynn forced Okada off the company’s board of directors and cashed him out of his Wynn stock holdings at a deep discount.

But if the situation did escalate from legal to physical, we feel Steve Wynn could do just fine without bodyguards. By all appearances, Wynn looks to have both the height and reach advantage on Okada.

They say it’s lonely at the top. That appears to be especially true for Wynn. The business publication Barron’s recently dropped Wynn from their annual list of top chief executives. Wynn’s wife Elaine divorced him — for the second time. Fallout from the divorce included the departure of Andrew Pascal, President of Wynn’s Las Vegas properties and Elaine’s nephew. And after more than a decade alliance, Wynn and Chef Alex Stratta severed ties last year.

Maybe Wynn hired a few buff bodyguards just for the company.

Posted by at 8:24 am

March 22, 2012

Vegas is Changing…Again

Nothing Dies in the Desert

There are times when a gambler yearns for a fresh start, when past losses magically disappear. You could also say that the gambling city of Las Vegas is built — and rebuilt — on the idea of fresh starts. Rooms are gutted and names are changed at a frenetic pace, all with a goal to wipe the slate clean.

If you haven’t been to Vegas lately, these are some of its latest reincarnations:

On May 15, 2011, the Sahara closed its doors. At the time, there were no plans for the Rat Pack’s former home. But in November, the Clark County Commissions approved plans to renovate the property. Alas, the roller coaster will not live to see another day.

The Las Vegas Hilton is now LVH- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino: The hotel, located near the convention center, lost its Hilton franchise in January. The LVH is currently being run by a court approved receiver while Goldman Sachs proceeds with its foreclosure of the property.

Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel changed its name the D Las Vegas. The “D” apparently stands for “Downtown,” “Detroit” (hometown of the Stevens brothers who now own the property) and/or CEO Derrick Stevens’ nickname “D.” The new owners are also kicking in $15 million to renovate the old Fitz.

O’Shea’s celebrated one last Saint Patrick’s Day before it closes its doors on April 30, 2012. But this Strip casino owned by Caesars Entertainment will rise again. The new O’Shea’s will open as part of the Linq project, due for completion sometime in mid-2013.

Wynn Resorts has a restaurant named Okada, named after a one-time (?)  partner in the casino. But Steve Wynn and Kazou Okada have been embroiled in an epic feud. As a result, the restaurant will be renamed Ohtaki and will include some changes to the menu.

Steve Wynn also cut ties with chef extraordinaire Alex Stratta. Needless to say the Wynn’s restaurant Alex has disappeared and will be replaced with a new nightclub named Climaxx.

The Lady Luck closed in 2006 for renovations. But financing collapsed and the lay dormant for years. But the downtown casino and hotel is now scheduled for a rebirth as the Downtown Grand in April 2013.

The Playboy Club at the Palms is closing in June 2012. Will the rabbit warren be reincarnated?  The Vegas odds are in its favor.

Posted by at 3:49 pm

March 4, 2012

Paperwork Mishaps at MGM and Wynn

Casino News of the Weird

Investors received the latest financial news from the world’s largest casino companies last week. And while Dan was thinking standard SEC filings from Caesars were signs of impending online poker happiness, it was the unexpected word from MGM and Wynn that really had tongues wagging.

MGM: Documents Shredded and Shares Dumped

Back in the day, gambling establishments made their problems disappear somewhere out in the Nevada desert. Perhaps that’s where we’ll find MGM’s legal documents?

MGM has been embroiled in a years-long legal battle with City Center’s general contractor Perini Building Company. The case took a bizarre turn last week when MGM notified the court that a rogue warehouse manager sold more than 500 boxes of legal documents to a paper recycler for roughly $800. 
  
Overall, it wasn’t a great news week for MGM. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, continued to dump shares of the casino company he founded. He reportedly raked in $268 million for the 20 million shares he sold on February 27. 
 
Wynn: Stock Halted after Premature/Erroneous Filing

The messy divorce between Wynn Resorts and one-time (?) partner Kazou Okada continues to be the fodder of many news stories. But that isn’t what temporarily halted the shares of Wynn from trading on the stock exchange on March 2.

Wynn filed a document with the SEC about getting the concession to build a new casino in Macau, the world’s hottest gaming territory. Wynn’s share price soared on the news. But minutes later, the SEC filing was pulled and shares were halted. Apparently Wynn jumped the gun on the announcement, failing to jump through one last legal hoop. Poker and investment maven Kid Dynamite goes Sherlock Holmes on Wynn’s premature 8-K ejaculation.

Posted by at 10:49 am

January 26, 2012

Steve Wynn in Partner Spat over Asian Pursuits

But who gets to keep the sushi restaurant?

Shares of Wynn Resorts tumbled on January 12 when it came out that a Wynn director and major shareholder had filed a lawsuit against the casino company. Turns out Kazuo Okada, one of Steve Wynn’s original partners, is claiming the company made a questionable $135 million donation to the University of Macau and hasn’t been sharing its financial information with him. Reuters has a nice write-up here.

The veiled implication is Wynn’s sizable donation might have been less than philanthropic – bordering on a “pay to play” ante to retain favor in the world’s most lucrative gaming destination. (The competing Las Vegas Sands’ Macau operation is currently under DOJ and SEC scrutiny for possible infringement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as referenced here in a Wall Street Journal blog.)

Wynn claims Okada’s lawsuit is just a smoke screen to mask the fact that Okada had been working behind Wynn’s back to develop a casino in the Philippines. You can read all the tawdry details in A Partners’ Fight Erupts at Wynn.

How will it end? Perhaps better than Steve Wynn’s marriage. After all, Wynn recently told the press, “I love Kazuo Okada as much as any man that I’ve met in my life.”

Wynn shares have since recovered from the drama at the start of January, but still have a ways to go in 2012 before reaching 2011 highs.

Posted by at 2:29 pm

April 7, 2011

When Scheinberg Met Steve

How PokerStars won Wynn and made it fiddy-fiddy

Forbes associate editor Nathan Vardi published an article this morning entitled “How Casino Mogul Steve Wynn Went All In On Online Poker and PokerStars”, which despite the lame-o “All In!” header, is a compelling high-seas tale of how PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg wooed and won the reticent Steve Wynn based on Vardi’s interview with the casino titan.

Because where else could billionaires come to grips with their future together but on a fabulous yacht in exotic locations and make the deal (surprisingly) even-steven 50-50?

I couldn’t help but think of Vardi’s post as if told in a novella….

When Scheinberg Met Steve

Chapter 1: The First Meeting

Nearly two years ago billionaire Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn met Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, the world’s biggest online gaming firm, for the first time. Scheinberg generally avoids traveling to the U.S., but the meeting took place on Wynn’s boat while it was anchored in the Mediterranean Sea. Over a three-hour lunch, Scheinberg tried to convince Wynn that the two of them should work together to regulate online poker in the U.S. with an eye toward setting up a joint venture.

More…

Posted by at 8:56 am

April 1, 2011

PokerStars FTWynn?

APCW Perspectives Weekly

pokerstars wynn law politics pokerThis week we cover another step toward online gambling regulation in the United States, as the announcement came that Poker Stars and Wynn Resorts have reached an agreement to work together! Also, updates on the upcoming iGaming Super Show and the latest from eCOGRA.

Posted by at 5:29 am