Nevada’s image is growing through the Forbes 400 List of the Richest People in America.
And it’s not just the usual billionaires who call Las Vegas or Henderson home.
Seven investors, takeover artists, real estate tycoons and hedge fund managers included in the ranking are associated with Nevada through their business dealings.
“That is a very favorable sign because it indicates that people see Nevada as a place that is going to grow and is going to do well in the future,” said Stephen Brown, a professor of business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the director of the school’s Center for Business and Economic Research.
The annual rankings were released Monday by Forbes.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson headed the seven Nevadans on the list, coming in at No. 11 with a net worth of $28.5 billion.
Five of the other six Nevadans built their fortunes in gaming. Wal-Mart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, who lives in Henderson and ranked 110th with a net worth of $4 billion, was the only noncasino person.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn ranked 184th with a net worth of $2.9 billion. His former wife, Elaine Wynn, who remains a company director, landed at 296th with a net worth of $1.9 billion.
Treasure Island owner Phillip Ruffin was listed at No. 222 with a net worth of $2.5 billion.
Station Casinos majority owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, who fell off the list last year, returned in 386th place, each with a net worth of $1.3 billion. The brothers also identified ownership of Ultimate Fighting Championship as the source of their wealth.
Brown said the Forbes list, “doesn’t often get accurate information for everyone” but still provides a picture of wealth.
“The good news is we’re seeing some evidence of recovery in the Nevada economy and we’re seeing that gaming itself is doing quite well on an international level,” Brown said.
Brown said he was encouraged by the outside investment in Nevada, which is primarily in gaming and hospitality.
However, the No. 2 person on the Forbes 400 — Warren Buffett — will soon be included in the sublist of those associated with the Silver State.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is buying NV Energy for $10 billion. The transaction, announced May 29, is expected to close early next year. Buffett, 83, has a net worth of $58.5 billion.
“Energy is situated to do well in Nevada as the economy improves,” Brown said.
Among the others associated with Nevada include:
— Takeover artist Carl Icahn (18th, $20.3 billion), who owns the shuttered Fontainebleau project on the Strip,
— Ron Perelman (27th, $14 billion), who owns 38 percent of Scientific Games, which is buying slot machine maker WMS Industries,
— Hedge fund manager John Paulson (36th, $11.4 billion), who owns large stakes in MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp., Boyd Gaming Corp., and land at Lake Las Vegas,
— MGM Resorts founder Kirk Kerkorian (118th, $3.9 billion),
— Real estate developer Donald Trump (134th, $3.5 billion), who owns the Trump International Las Vegas,
— Landry’s Chairman Tilman Fertitta (235th, $2.4 billion), who owns the Golden Nugget casinos.
Several individuals once associated with Nevada remain on the list.
Three members of the Mars family, which owns the Ethel M Candy plant in Henderson are tied for 15th on the list, each with $3.5 billion in net worth. Their residences are listed in Wyoming and Virginia.
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is 47th on list with $8.5 billion in net worth, once lived in Henderson. He now lives in Honolulu.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.