Steve Wynn Says “Nobody Likes Being Around Poor People,” Proves His Point with $1.5 Billion Las Vegas Lagoon Project

Posted on: April 10, 2016, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: April 8, 2016, 02:32h.

Steve Wynn’s eponymous resort conglomerate will spend $1.5 billion transforming the Wynn Golf Club into a 38-acre lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches, the mogul announced Thursday. The lake will be next to a new 1,000-room hotel-casino that will also house the usual restaurants and nightlife attractions.

Steve Wynn disses poor $1.5 Billion Paradise Park Las Vegas
Billionaire Blooper: Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn might have said a little too much when addressing investors about a new Las Vegas lagoon development project. (Image: Nick UT/AP)

Speaking at his company’s first-ever investors day, Wynn said that the new resort would offer “ice cream and a fireworks show every night, just like Disney,” while the lake would host waterskiing and paddle-boarding.

“This is the most fun project in my 45 years,” he gushed. “Somebody take the other side, tell me what’s wrong with this idea? We’ve all drunk the Kool-Aid.”

Payday Paradise

The resort, which would nestle behind the Wynn and Encore resort towers that face the Las Vegas Strip, would be the mogul’s first major Las Vegas development since the construction of the Encore, which opened in 2008.

The earnings of the Wynn Golf Club, which Telsey Advisory Group analyst David Katz said this week pulls in revenues of around $5 million, would be blown out of the water by the new project, tentatively titled the “Wynn Paradise Park,” which could bring in $300 to 400 million per year.

Poorly Thought-Out Remarks

Wynn also used the company’s investor gathering as a platform to stick his foot firmly in his mouth, and pretty nimbly for a 74-year-old, we might add.

In a week when the Panama Papers leak revealed the not-very-secret fact that rich people use offshore tax shelters to maintain their wealth, Wynn’s poor choice of words regarding the economically challenged among us came back to bite him.

“Rich people only like being around rich people,” noted billionaire Wynn, who should know. “Nobody likes being around poor people, especially poor people.”

The CEO, who is currently engaged in a highly publicized War of the Roses with his ex-wife Elaine over control of her stock in Wynn Resorts, was attempting to explain the appeal of the Wynn brand at the time, but like so many politicians of late, missed the mark by a continent or two.

“This company caters to the top end of the gaming world,” he said. “We’re sort of Chanel or Louis Vuitton, to use the comparison, the metaphor of the retail business. But unlike Chanel and Louis Vuitton, we are able in our business to cater to all of the market. By making our standards so high … that everybody wants to be in the building.”

An underling quickly stepped in to run interference and clear up the casino magnate’s intentions.

“Mr. Wynn’s comment was made in the context of a discussion that the company creates luxurious resorts which have an aspirational appeal to a broad range of guests,” the unidentified spokesperson said.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Wynn at one point was rumored to be Donald Trump’s political advisor. Both are now running on the Poor Parlance Party ticket.