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The Biggest Bet in Vegas

Impresario Steve Wynn has broken ground on a $1.95 billion hotel, Le Reve
Michael Kaplan
From the Print Edition:
Steve Wynn, Jan/Feb 03

(continued from page 4)

It's a sporting sentiment that jibes well with the positive vibe that Wynn seems to be emoting these days. "God bless all the people that believe in this project and have long-term views," Wynn says, sounding genuinely grateful -- for his investors and competitors. "A lot of [the success in raising money] had to do with the city, a lot of it had to do with my track record, a lot of it had to do with salesmanship. But most of all, it had to do with the analytical ability of professional investors who can understand Las Vegas and know that someone who has experience in the town and presents his case efficiently and effectively can be trusted. It was a vote of confidence for Las Vegas from people who know the difference. They didn't have to give me my money, but they did."

Wynn takes a breath. Behind him, dusk settles over the Vegas Strip. Lights from the Frontier Hotel flicker on and throb rhythmically. Asked about the role he might play in igniting the next spate of building here, Wynn visibly relaxes for the first time all afternoon. He wheels back his chair, stretches his legs, and smiles as tension drains from his face. "This project has sort of become an icon of the future," Wynn says. "The thinking is that if Wall Street and Steve Wynn believe in the town, then its best days are yet to come. The money is here and stacked, everybody's heaved a sigh of relief, and I've been adopted by Las Vegas as a symbol. Everyone's rooting for me because they're rooting for themselves. So I've become a homeboy. At age 60, I am Las Vegas's quintessential homeboy." Steve Wynn allows this image to hang in the air for a moment, then he softly concludes, "What a lovely spot to be in."

Michael Kaplan is Cigar Aficionado's gambling columnist.

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