Casino Tycoons

Casino Tycoons

The biggest and most luxurious casinos worldwide are owned and operated by some of the richest and most successful businessmen in the world. Every Cent, Dollar or Euro that comes out of most gamblers' pockets goes into their bank accounts.

They are the VIP's and high rollers of the business world; they enjoy the highest class of hotels, the best restaurants and the most expensive cars, yachts and airplanes. Most importantly, they receive special treatment - VIP treatment – which they in turn offer their VIP players at their many casinos.

What does it take to become so successful? How do you earn this fame and fortune besides winning a giant jackpot? These casino moguls' personal stories of success and rise to the top may hold the answer.

Steve Wynn

Stephen Alan Wynn was born in 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the major figure behind the resurgence and development of Las Vegas in the 1990's and is the owner of many successful casinos.

Wynn's father, Michael Weinberg, owned bingo parlors in the eastern United States, and died shortly before Wynn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He took over the family business in Maryland successfully which allowed him to purchase a stake in his first Las Vegas property – the Frontier Hotel and casino.

After a land deal in the early 1970's earned him a profit, he took control of the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, renovated and expanded it to make it a top Las Vegas casino.
Wynn's first major casino on the Las Vegas Strip was the famous The Mirage, which established a new benchmark of luxury and size. It had high quality rooms and room service, an outdoor "volcano" and an indoor forest. Wynn was involved in the design of the casino, which was considered a dicey endeavor due to the project's high cost and the focused attention on lavishness, but it turned out to be a great success.

Wynn continued his expansion efforts with his crowning achievement and one of the most known casinos in the world – the Bellagio. It introduced a whole new level of prestige and included an art gallery containing museum-quality artworks, an artificial lake and fountain, indoor conservatory and many high-end boutiques, restaurants and bars. The Bellagio is largely responsible for the new wave of top-class casino in Las Vegas and causing the city's renaissance age with casinos such as Paris Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay and The Venetian.

Following the sale of Mirage Resorts to MGM Grand in 2000, which formed MGM Mirage Wynn was able to plan even bigger projects and built Wynn Las Vegas, his most expansive casino to date, which opened in 2005.

In September 2006, Wynn opened his Far East endeavor, Wynn Macau, in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau, the largest gaming jurisdiction in Asia.

Wynn turned from millionaire to billionaire in 2004, when his net worth doubled, to $1.3 billion. He is an art collector, which he sometimes displays in his casinos, and has paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and more. He recently spent a record price, $35.8 million for a painting by J. M. W. Turner.

Donald Trump

Donald John Trump was bornin 1946 in New York, New York. He is the CEO of Trump Organization, a developer of prime real estate and Trump Entertainment, which operates casinos and hotels. He is also the executive producer and host of the television show The Apprentice.

Trump began his career in his family's real estate business. He worked with his father for five years and was very successful in making profitable deals. He moved into the Manhattan real estate scene and acquired some of the most exclusive properties in the city, including Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Tower, Trump Casino, Trump International Hotel, Trump Marina Hotel and Casino and more.

After spending much of the 1990's in huge debts ($900 million in personal debt and nearly $3.5 billion in business debt) due to his business expansions, Trump saw resurgence in his financial situation and completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations complex. Trump currently owns over 18 million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate. He currently owns over 18 million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate.

Donald Trump has become an American cultural icon signifying wealth and business savvy and while many sources argue his casino revenues continue to spiral downward, Trump has found time to star in one of reality television’s most popular primetime shows, “The Apprentice”.

Sheldon Adelson

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, an American businessman is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands, one of the world's largest casino operators. Adelson, as the owner of the company, controls The Venetian Casino Resort, the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas and the Sands Macau, arguably the world's largest casino - 229,000 square feet on three levels, with 740 tables and 1,254 slot machines.

Adelson was born in 1934, in Boston, Massachusetts, to a poor family and began working at an early age selling newspapers on local street corners. Surprisingly, he owned his own business by the age of twelve and later on in life he worked as an investment adviser, a mortgage broker and a financial consultant.

In 1989, Adelson acquired the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and others used as their hang out. The following year he purchased the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the only privately owned and operated convention center in the United States.

While honeymooning with his wife, Miriam, in Venice, Italy, he came up with the idea of building a mega-resort casino-hotel with a Venetian theme. The luxurious $1.5 billion Venetian was viewed as a resort that revolutionized the hotel and casino industry in Las Vegas and was recognized as one of the finest hotels in the world, winning architectural and other awards. In 2003, the Venezia tower was added to the resort, with more than a 1,000 suites. The Venetian has more than 4,000 suites, 18 restaurants and a shopping mall that includes canals, gondolas and gondoliers, just like the Italian city itself.

The latest Sands venture is a $3 billion casino resort in Singapore – the city-state's first casino, which will open in 2009.

Adelson, according to Forbes magazine, is the 14th richest person in the world and the 3rd richest in America with $16.2 billion. He increased his fortune of $1.4 billion in 2004 after his company started publicly trading. Forbes estimated he has been earning about $1 million an hour for the past two years.

Anurag Dikshit

Anurag dikshit (pronounced "Dix-it") was the CEO and co-founder of one of the biggest and most successful online gambling companies in the world – PartyGaming, the operator of partypoker.com and partycasino.com.

The 33-years-old Dikshit was only 25 when he began working with Ruth Parasol, who founded PartyPoker in 1998. Parasol hired Dikshit, a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science and engineering from India's Indian Institute of Technology, to develop software for her company. She had such a high regard for him that she made him a partner with a considerable number of shares.

In 2000, Dikshit hired a colleague from Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, Vikrant Bhargava, to head the company's Caribbean operations. Party Poker was launched in 2001 just in time to enjoy the great interest that poker started to generate.

Books, TV shows and celebrities began flooding the game unto the media and bringing it to the public's attention. Online poker and Party Poker in particular, became highly popular with Party Poker becoming the most thriving online gambling company in the world in a very short time, largely due to its successful marketing.

Dikshit, as the largest individual shareholder with approximately 30 percent of PartyGaming, after he sold 23 percent of his stake in the company's initial public offering, is the 3rd richest person in India and one of the richest in the world.

PartyGaming's pretax profit has gone from about $6 million three years ago to more than $370 million last year, and in the first quarter this year it made $128-million, or $1.4-million a day. The four founders of the company including Dikshit, Vikrant Bhargava, Ruth Parasol and her husband Russell have become billionaires quickly and at an incredibly young age – all of them before turning 40.

Kirk Kerkorian

Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian was born in 1917 in Fresno, California. The Armenian-American to-be-billionaire started as an amateur boxing after he quit school in the 8th grade and as a pilot During World War II.

He began his long career as a successful businessman in 1947, when he bought a small air-charter service company, TransInternational Airlines, which used to fly gamblers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Kerkorian bought the company for $60,000 and sold it in 1968, after operating it for 21 years, for $104 million to Trans-America Corporation.

In 1962 Kerkorian made what is probably the best deal of his life when he purchased 80 acres in Las Vegas, across from the Flamingo Hotel for only $960,000, which was cheap for the land even then. Caesars Palace was built on that land, which Krekorian rented to the casino and hotel and then sold to it for $9 million in 1969.

In 1967, he bought 82 acres of land on Paradise Road in Las Vegas and built what was considered then the largest hotel in the world - the International Hotel. Elvis Presley was the regular performer at the hotel, bringing in more than 4,000 customers every day, for 30 days straight, breaking in the process all attendance records in the Las Vegas's history.

Kerkorian made another successful deal in 1973, when he acquired MGM movie studio, fulfilling a life-long dream, and opening the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, which was Kerkorian's second hotel entitled "the largest hotel in the world". Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in 1980, in what was one of the city's worst disasters, totaling 87 deaths. Despite this horrible fire, the hotel surprisingly reopened after just 8 months.

In 1986, he sold the Las Vegas and Reno MGM hotels to Bally Manufacturing for $594 million. He retained 55 percent of MGM Grand and has very recently acquired additional 15 million shares and increased his stake in the company to 61.7 percent.

Today, Kerkorian is the 41st richest man in the country, is worth about $5.7 billion.

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