Casino mogul Steve Wynn gets gambling license for new resort - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Casino developer Steve Wynn is back in business.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a gambling license for the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas, clearing the way for Wynn to open his megaresort on April 28.

"With a little bit of luck ... we will launch Wynn Las Vegas and it will be a different place from those we launched before," Wynn told the five commissioners.

Other than minor questions about the board of directors, financing, employee diversity and access points in case of emergency, commission members praised Wynn and the city's newest hotel-casino that looms over the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

"It appears as if the company is very strong going forward and I don't have any regulatory concerns," said Peter Bernhard, the commission chairman.

"It's a marvel to behold," said Commissioner Arthur Marshall, who has toured the property.

Wynn, who came with top executives and his wife, Elaine, didn't think the license was in doubt.

"It wasn't like we were tense about the outcome," Wynn said shortly after receiving the commission OK.

The billionaire didn't share many details about the curvy Wynn Las Vegas, with its bronze windows and asymmetrical roof.

Wynn said its components will be similar to his past creations - The Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio - but their arrangement will be different. He did say the megaresort will be suffused with natural light, something rare to find in casinos along the teeming Strip.

Wynn has said his the property will be unlike his previous designs, which are credited with helping reinvent Las Vegas and cement the city's status as a major tourist destination.

In a recent investor's note, Harry Curtis, a gambling analyst with JP Morgan, wrote: "The design of Wynn's public spaces is unlike anything we've seen. Most casinos in Las Vegas wander. Each element of Wynn, whether it's a restaurant, an entertainment venue, or its rooms, will give guests a higher-end experience and sense of privacy that most casinos don't offer."

Wynn Las Vegas will have about 9,500 employees and 2,700 rooms. It's the first of three megaresorts on the drawing board of Wynn Resorts, the casino's parent company.

Wynn is also building a $700 million casino in Macau and plans to erect Encore, another luxury megaresort next to Wynn Las Vegas, that could cost $1.4 billion. Wynn also wants to build a casino in Singapore.

Wynn shares rose $1.35, or 1.9 percent, to close at $70.49 in Thursday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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