VEGAS, Nevada -
After five years away from the action, Steve Wynn moved
a step closer to operating a Strip casino as the Gaming
Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend
licensing of the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas.
Nevada Gaming Commission will consider the matter March
24. Wynn has said he plans to open the 2,700-room resort
regulators took less than two hours to recommend licensing
approval for Wynn, Wynn Resorts Ltd., the resort's management
team, and Wynn's business partner, Aruze Corp., a Japanese
slot machine manufacturer.
been a while since we've had a project of this size in
front of us," control board Chairman Dennis Neilander
said. "Mr. Wynn is an innovator, and I'm a regulator.
We're very different. I can't even think along the same
plane he does.
looking at this project from a regulatory perspective,
there are no regulatory issues. He has a track record
of taking his ideas and executing them very well."
the hearing, Wynn said the 60 months he has been away
from the day-to-day operation of a casino operating company
served as a catharsis, allowing him to focus on the development
of the Strip resort, which is marked by a 50-story curved
said he spent 2 1/2 years to design the property and another
2 1/2 years for construction.
was very, very isolated in manner of speaking," Wynn
said. "There were other guys in the company who knew
what the latest slot machine was or what was the latest
piece of software technology. I didn't have to worry about
that because I knew my colleagues would.
was focused on the more fundamental issues of human aspiration.
Would my building somehow be an iteration of the most
common things to humanity. Is there something else beyond
also said the second phase of development for the Wynn
Las Vegas site, which will include a second hotel tower,
"Is far along in the design stage."
team took less than an hour to make their arguments for
licensing to the control board.
only issue of minor consequence was the design of the
casino's private gaming salons.
Las Vegas was seeking approval for three salons, but control
board member Bobby Siller said hisreading of the design
showed just two locations and he questioned the use of
the private dining areas.
Wynn told the regulators he expects to see a large influx
of Asian gamblers with large credit lines coming to Las
Vegas over the next 15 to 16 months, many of whom will
be introduced to Las Vegas through Wynn Resorts' soon-to-open
casino in Macau.
members also approved Aruze, which had several company
officials at the meeting, including Chairman Kazuo Okada,
without much discussion.
June, gaming regulators grilled representatives from the
Japanese company for more than four hours about questionable
matters of compliance.
Wednesday, those same regulators complimented Aruze's
management for adhering to their concerns.
Control board members also commended Wynn Resorts for
its balance sheet and its financing of the Strip resort,
a far cry from the licensing of The Mirage nearly 15 years
ago, when much was made about estimates of the resort
having to win $1 million a day from gamblers to meet its
Wynn said The Mirage had revenues of $408 million in its
first year of operation from the casino and another $410
million in noncasino revenue.
was critical of the live entertainment tax instituted
during the 2003 Legislature. He said he hoped the current
legislative session would change the tax.
the lounges the same as the showrooms is a mistake,"
Wynn said. "All you're going to do is take the entertainment
Wynn's 20-minute presentation to control board members,
he discussed the building's design, his rationale for
hiding much of the property's entertainment aspects behind
a man-made mountain, and how the Las Vegas customer has
gave little insight to the layout and inside attractions
of Wynn Las Vegas, saying he wanted the hotel to be the
centerpiece that would draw customers inside.
goal was to bring people into the building and turn those
tourists into guests," he said. "That is the
said he hopes the building's design: a curved tower marked
by bronze glass, horizontal white stripes and an asymmetrical
roof, will be copied.
curved building has movement and that movement connotes
excitement," Wynn said. "So a curved building
was appropriate for Las Vegas. I didn't go out and try
and outdo Bellagio. I went somewhere else, to a different
idea ... Besides, what's the fun of doing the same thing