Updated November 1, 2019 - 4:20 pm
Longtime gaming executive Bobby Baldwin has been named head of the Drew Las Vegas, currently under construction on the Las Vegas Strip.
In a Friday morning press release, real estate firm Witkoff announced Baldwin’s new role as CEO of the planned resort-casino, as well as vice chairman of the firm.
“Bobby sees how far the project has come and is supportive of our vision and strategy,” said Steven Witkoff, developer of Drew Las Vegas and chairman and CEO of Witkoff. “Given Bobby’s industry reputation and experience, we believe he’s the ideal individual to successfully launch this project and to help drive strategy within the overall Witkoff enterprise.”
Formerly known as the Fontainebleau, the 67-story Drew Las Vegas development is located on the north end of the Strip, across from Circus Circus. The $3.1 billion property is planned to have 3,780 rooms, along with a casino, restaurants, shops, pools, nightlife options, spa and wellness offerings and more than 550,000 square feet of convention and meeting space. In April, Witkoff pushed back the opening date to the second quarter of 2022.
John Unwin — former CEO of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas who had been overseeing the launch and operations of Drew Las Vegas — is evaluating his future involvement with the project.
Through his new role, Baldwin is set to “provide leadership and insight on projects beyond Las Vegas that are critical to the firm’s long-term growth strategy,” according to the release.
Baldwin has a long history in Las Vegas. He most recently served as chief customer development officer at MGM Resorts International and president and CEO of the $9.2 billion CityCenter development. Prior to his roles at MGM, Baldwin held executive positions at the Golden Nugget, The Mirage and Bellagio, the last of which has a high-stakes poker room named after him, “Bobby’s Room.”
He was chief financial officer of Mirage Resorts under CEO Steve Wynn between 1999 and 2000, back when the company was acquired by what is now MGM. After the deal was finalized, Baldwin was named CEO of MGM Mirage. In 2005, he moved on to become president and CEO of Project CityCenter.
Baldwin also is known as a world-class poker player, having won the 1978 World Series of Poker main event. At that time, he was the youngest champion to win the title at 28.
In July 2017, Baldwin was injured after falling down two flights of stairs at the Aria. At the time, people close to him tweeted that he had broken his shoulder, pelvis and ribs and had undergone a successful elbow surgery.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Witkoff organization as well as the team at Drew Las Vegas,” Baldwin said in the release. “Witkoff’s proven track record in global real estate development, financing, and operations makes this the right opportunity, particularly when combined with the introduction of the Drew.”