Las Vegas casino magnates top Forbes richest list

Updated March 8, 2018 - 12:51 pm

Despite sexual misconduct accusations, Steve Wynn’s ranking on the annual Forbes list of world’s richest people has improved over last year.

The list, which looked at people’s wealth based on stock prices and exchange rates on Feb. 9, put the former Wynn Resorts CEO at $3.4 billion and ranked him the 679th richest person on Earth. Wynn resigned Feb. 6.

On the list published about this time last year, he ranked 814th with $2.5 billion. In February, he resigned from Wynn Resorts after The Wall Street Journal and Review-Journal published detailed accusations of him seeking sexual favors from employees.

His ex-wife Elaine, whom he’s accused of orchestrating a campaign against him, ranked 965th with $2.5 billion. Elaine Wynn has denied that she played a hand in his recent scandal.

Last year, she ranked No. 1,161 with $1.8 billion.

Former business partner Kazuo Okada, also wrapped up in the legal fight over control of shares of Wynn Resorts, had $3 billion and ranked 791st.

Here’s how other listmakers with Southern Nevada connections performed:

■ Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, 84, ranked No. 21 with $38.5 billion. Adelson, the richest man in Nevada and in the casino industry, operates The Venetian, Palazzo and properties in Macau. Though his net worth increased from last year’s amount of $30.4 billion, he slipped out of the top 20.

■ Siblings Jacqueline and John Mars ranked No. 34 for their candymaker family, owners of Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson, with $23.6 billion.

■ Former Fontainebleau owner Carl Icahn ranked No. 73 with $16.8 billion.

■ Lui Che Woo, 88, of Macau casino-operator Galaxy Entertainment, increased his net worth about 70 percent to $20.1 billion and ranked 50th. Last year, he ranked No. 109.

■ Ronald Perelman, chairman of Scientific Games, ranked No. 152 with $9.8 billion.

■ Johann Graf, whose Novomatic Group received approval last year to invest in Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. of Australia, ranked 186 with $8.1 billion. The namesake for Ainsworth, Len Ainsworth, ranked No. 1,756 for $1.3 billion in net worth.

■ Hedge fund magnate John Paulson, who’s invested millions into Lake Las Vegas, ranked No. 261 with $6.5 billion.

■ Silverton owner Edward Roski Jr. placed 351st with $5.7 billion. He bought the struggling property for $70 million in 1997.

■ Pansy Ho, co-chair and executive director of MGM China Holdings who helped open MGM Cotai earlier this year, posted $5.3 billion and ranked 365th. Her stepmother, Angela Leong of SJM Holdings, has $3.7 billion and ranked 606th. Pansy Ho’s brother Lawrence, who controls Cotai Strip casino operator Melco Resorts, ranked 935th with $2.5 billion.

■ Richard Branson of the Virgin conglomerate that includes music and airline businesses, ranked 388th with $5 billion. Virgin is expected to have an ownership stake once Hard Rock Hotel sells, and the company has invested enough money in experimental transportation company Hyperloop One, which runs a test track near North Las Vegas, for the Hyperloop One to add Virgin to its name. Ziyavudin Magomedov, co-executive chairman on the Virgin Hyperloop One board, ranked 1876th with $1.2 billion.

■ Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Group, the company behind Resorts World Las Vegas, netted $4.7 billion and ranked 441st.

■ Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta ranked No. 499 for $4.3 billion. The 60-year-old also owns the Houston Rockets NBA team. His cousins Lorenzo and Frank III, former UFC owners and owners of Station Casinos, ranked No. 1,103 with $2.2 billion each.

■ James Packer, the Australian whose Crown Resorts gave up on the Alon resort and sold the land to Wynn Resorts, has $4.1 billion and ranked 527th. Packer is also a former business partner of Lawrence Ho.

■ John Paul DeJoria, Patron Spirits Co. founder and John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care company co-founder, ranked No. 729 with $3.2 billion. He still maintains a home in Las Vegas and is a large donor to the city’s Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

■ TI owner Phil Ruffin, the rare sole owner of a Las Vegas Strip casino, ranked 887th with $2.7 billion.

■ Bill Ackman, who sent Howard Hughes Corp. stock down when he announced he was selling a chunk of his stake in the developer, ranked No. 1,999 with $1.1 billion.

President down in ranks

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has become the first $100 billion mogul to top Forbes’ annual rankings. But the fortune of President Donald Trump, the namesake for off-Strip hotel Trump International, sank during his first year in office despite a surging stock market.

The Bezos milestone, revealed in Tuesday’s release of Forbes’ list, underscores the growing clout of both Bezos and the company that he founded in 1994 as an online bookstore. Forbes’ breakdown provided further evidence that serving as president isn’t the most lucrative job, even when most of the rich are getting richer.

All told, the world now has more than 2,200 billionaires with a combined fortune of $9.1 trillion, up 18 percent from ago, according to Forbes’ calculations.

Although Trump is part of that elite group, he saw his fortune sink by about $400 million to $3.1 billion during his first year in office. The decline left him as the world’s 766th richest person, more than 200 places lower than his 544th spot on last year’s Forbes list.

Bezos seized the top ranking for the first time and has the added the distinction of becoming the first person to break the $100 billion barrier since Forbes began compiling its list in 1987. As of Feb. 9, Bezos’ wealth stood at $112 billion, up from about $73 billion last year, according to Forbes.

Most of Bezos’ fortune is tied up in Amazon stock, which soared 59 percent during the period tracked by Forbes.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at wmillward@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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