Wynn says he’s afraid to build in Las Vegas because of Obama

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Steve Wynn says he’d like to partner with some friends to develop another megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip, but he hasn’t done so because of what he calls President Barack Obama’s anti-business attitude.

In an interview with Las Vegas political journalist Jon Ralston on the “Ralston Reports” show this week, Wynn also expressed support for Mitt Romney while criticizing Democrats including Rep. Shelley Berkley and Sen. Harry Reid.

On the megaresort issue, the billionaire casino executive Wynn told Ralston he’s friends with the owners of the land across from Wynn Las Vegas and Encore that once was occupied by the New Frontier and had been planned for the Plaza resort before the project was halted during the recession.

The land had been planned for development by investors including the owner of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

“They overpaid for a piece of property” during the economic boom, Wynn said. “They got a hold of 34 acres. They ended up being in for more than $1 billion for an empty piece of property on the Strip.”

Wynn said the investors came to him and said, “We made a miscalculation; we realize we’ll have to invest our way out.”

“How about going in with us? You run it, you design it, we’ll call it the ‘Wynn Plaza,’” Wynn recalled of the conversation, adding it would be a convention-type resort with a connection across the Strip to Wynn and Encore.

“That would have been an investment of $2 billion and created at least another 10,000 regular jobs. I could do that and we could get the money,” he said.

“What happened?” Ralston asked.

“I’m afraid of the president. I have no idea what goofy idea, what crazy, anti-business program this administration will come up with,” Wynn said. “Every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks.”

Wynn said Obama, upon taking office in 2009, should have focused on job creation as the nation was mired in recession.

“If you had a Top 10 list, No. 10 would have been health care,” Wynn said.

“The only thing that was screaming toward the sky was jobs,” he said. “He turned his back on the No. 1 priority.”

The casino executive said he voted for Obama but was later disappointed because he believes Obama violated pledges to reduce the federal deficit and to develop a comprehensive immigration policy.

“The living standard of Americans is being destroyed by this government in Washington that will not stop spending money that we don’t have,” Wynn said. “I’m watching my employees’ living standard go through the floor.”

As for Romney, Wynn said, the Republican has a track record of getting things done in business and with the Olympics and concerns that Romney is personally opposed to gambling are a non-issue because gaming isn’t an industry regulated by the federal involvement.

“No one’s going to make gambling illegal. It’s a state issue,” he said.

“He is absolutely going to be a fabulous president,” Wynn said. “He’s never been unsuccessful in anything he tried.”

Wynn said Romney “knows how to use human resources — when to hire, when to fire, when to invest, when to sell.”

“He went into politics in a Democratic state (Massachusetts) and reached across the aisle,” Wynn said. “As he mentioned during the debate, you don’t go into a meeting saying, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’”

As for Berkley, Wynn said that in an earlier interview with Ralston, the congresswoman had misrepresented what she had told Wynn when Wynn complained to her about her vote in favor of Obama’s health care reform package.

Wynn insists Berkley told him she voted for health care reform for political reasons, particularly pressure to do so from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader. Berkley disputes she said that and says she did the right thing for her constituents.

“Every single word that woman said to you was made up,” said Wynn, who supports Republican Sen. Dean Heller in the Senate race against Berkley. “Shall I use the ‘L’ word?”

“This woman has no right to be elected to be in the United States Senate,” Wynn said.

Wynn, during the interview, also mimicked the slow Southern drawl of former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus.

Wynn said she commented about voting for health care reform: “Oh Steve, I know there are some bad things and some good things and it’s the toughest decision I ever made.’’

Before the vote, Wynn said he had supported both Berkley and Titus.

As for Reid, Wynn said he’s been friends with the Senate majority leader for 45 years but is disappointed Reid hasn’t been effective in dealing with gridlock, particularly on the federal budget.

“When the president lost control of the House, Harry had the chance to be one of the most effective, powerful, strategic Senate majority leaders in history. That opportunity came and went,” he said.

Without congressional action, the government is headed toward a “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and deep spending cuts in early 2013, which, Wynn noted, include “defense cuts that are coming up.”

“Every single moment, the Senate has been a failure,” Wynn said.

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  1. Soon Wynn will have no customers as Romney will finish the job bush started, eliminating the middle class. Of course by doing this it strengthens the power of the wealthy, but people like Wynn who live off the middle class are out of luck. At his age he probably does not care.

  2. Wynn's claim is laughable. He's focused on Asia because that's where the money is. Why else would he have pledged $135 million to the University of Macau?

    And the idea that Wynn is worried about his workers? Even more laughable. The only people he seems to care about are Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Julian Hatton, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Johannes Vermeer. He has hundreds of millions to lavish on those guys. His workers? Please. The little people can fight over each other's tips.

  3. What a crock of crap! He creates jobs in Communist China with NO FEAR of their corrupt COMMUNIST government and won't create jobs here because he fears our President!!!! He donated MILLIONS to a COMMUNIST university, promoting COMMUNIST IDEALS, and he fears our President???

    What kind of anti-american businessman is he?? Oh, wait, the same kind as his friends!!! Creating jobs in other countries for cheap labor and more profits and keeping the wealth out of the country to avoid taxes.

    He referred to his company as a Chinese Corporation doing business in the United States!

    AND THE REPUBLICANS CALL THE DEMOCRATS SOCIALISTS????

  4. But I thought that strict conservatives like Sharon Angle said that it's NOT the government's responsibility to create jobs? So really the only person responsible for NOT creating jobs is Wynn himself.

    Is Carl Icahn complaining about the President as a reason he's not opened up Fountainbleau? Is Boyd Gaming Blaming the President for Echelon not completing construction? No, none of them have.

    Did Wynn ever voice concern over laxed financial regulations that helped lead us into the economic quagmire that we're in now? Oh no, of course not. He profited when people turned their houses into ATMs and cashed out the equity that they spent in his casinos. So what again does he know about fiscal responsibility, or any for that matter when it comes to creating a business-friendly climate? Economies go up and down, you have to realize this.

    Just wait. China is just a tiger playing possum in the grass right now. And just like letting a herd of deer graze and fatten up for the kill, China is just letting Wynn and others invest their money into Macau, and will wait for them to construct all the fancy new resorts. And when the time is right, be it citing some sort of governmental threat, or even simply waiting until he's dead and the company grows weak due to a leadership vacuum, China will awaken in time to pounce so they can take over all the properties built in Macau. They may shut down single hotels, or cut travel to Macau off entirely. But they'll take over in the name of the "People" and the "Party". China is NOT Nevada where the government works for the gaming industry, and Wynn will find out all too late.

  5. Steve Wynn has enough money to do whatever he likes, and if he thinks his money will make more in China then in USA the money will go to China. He is not the only person thinking this, he is just more vocal on where he stands. It is his money so he is free to spend and invest where he wants, just like many of the posters here go to Walmart and buy China made items because you don't want to pay extra for USA one. It is to bad Obama makes the USA such a bad place to invest right now for all these people. I do agree with his remarks Harry Reid really blew it.

  6. Steve Wynn, the lover of Communist China thinks the President is too tough on business. This guy is a total jerk. It's no wonder his ex-wife dumped him.

  7. I would be remiss if I did not point out that Mr. Wynn was perfectly willing to build in Massachusetts as recently as this year. Given what this suggests about his honesty, I can see why he likes Romney.

  8. I think the only thing to say about Mr. Wynn's comments is: Bull.s..t!

  9. Steve Wynn was born on second base and thinks he hit a double. If enough people with common sense and humanity stop patronizing his casinos we can send him packing to China, where he belongs, along with the other oligarchs.

  10. Mr Wynn is just trying to justify why he isn't expanding in Vegas. We all know this is just an excuse, he has no plans for Vegas. As for The Pres. Let's see, My stock portfolio has doubled in the past 4 years, my bank accounts have more money than four years ago. Yes I'll vote for the Dem's. As for those of you who aren't prospering, I suggest you re-evaluate your positions.

  11. This is nothing but a lot of hot air. Steve just doesn't want the long-term capital gains tax to go up. He prefers the Romney/Ryan plan where long-term capital gains is eliminated, so he doesn't have to pay any personal income tax anymore.