Southern Nevadans fare well on list of America’s richest people

The casino industry is well represented on this year’s Forbes 400, a list of America’s richest people, with Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson coming in as the top Nevadan — No. 14 in the United States — with a net worth of $31.8 billion.

The list, released this week, also includes Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn at No. 246; Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin (274); brothers Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta (tied at 361) and Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn (also tied at 361).

The list of Southern Nevadans also includes Andrew and Peggy Cherng (No. 232), who launched the 2,000-unit Panda Express Chinese food chain, and Henderson resident Nancy Walton Laurie, No. 124, an heir to Bud and Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart fortune.

Adelson, 83, one of the top-listed self-made billionaires, climbed one position from last year’s list.

The publication noted Las Vegas Sands’ opening of the Parisian hotel-casino in Macau, China, last month as a contributor to Adelson’s wealth. He’s listed at No. 22 among the world’s billionaires.

Wynn, 74, with net worth of $2.7 billion, climbed 33 positions from last year.

“(Wynn’s) publicly traded company, which operates Wynn Las Vegas, opened the $4.2 billion Wynn Palace — its second resort in the troubled Macau gambling region — in August 2016,” the publication said.

Ruffin, 81, with a net worth of $2.5 billion, climbed five positions from 2015.

Frank Fertitta, 54, and Lorenzo Fertitta, 47, both with net worth of $1.9 billion, each jumped 31 positions on the list.

The brothers were applauded by the publication for pulling off an impressive feat in August 2016, selling mixed martial arts promoter Ultimate Fighting Championship for $4 billion to an investment group led by sports marketing agency WME/IMG. The brothers had purchased the organization for a mere $2 million in 2001.

Elaine Wynn, 74, who was at No. 261 in 2014, is No. 12 among America’s self-made women and is listed with a net worth of $1.9 billion.

Andrew Cherng, from China, and Peggy, from Burma, are listed as No. 26 among immigrant billionaires. With net worth of $2.9 billion, the Cherngs climbed 14 positions from last year.

Their company, Panda Restaurant Group Inc., announced plans in the summer to roll out the “chork” — a fork and chopstick hybrid — in November.

Laurie, with a net worth of $4.5 billion, climbed 14 positions from last year. Laurie, who inherited her fortune from her father when he died in 1995, is married to Bill Laurie, who owns Missouri’s Providence Bank.

Other billionaires include:

■ New York City-based corporate raider Carl Icahn, 80, who owns the shuttered Fontainebleau on the Strip, was listed at No. 26 with a net worth of $15.7 billion.

■ Hedge fund operator John Paulson, 60, of New York City, who has owned large shares of MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming Corp., and real estate associated with Lake Las Vegas, was ranked No. 52 with a net worth of $18.6 billion.

■ Scientific Games Corp. Chairman Ronald Perelman, 73, was listed at No. 33 with a net worth of $12.2 billion. Scientific Games, a lottery industry giant, bought slot machine maker WMS Industries last year and slot machine manufacturer Bally Technologies.

■ The managers of the two private equity firms that are battling for control of Caesars Entertainment Corp. also were on the Forbes list. Leon Black, 65, New York City, who manages Apollo Global Management, was No. 105 with a net worth of $5 billion. David Bonderman, 71, Fort Worth, Texas, who operates TPG Capital, was No. 274 with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

■ Golden Nugget casino owner Tilman Fertitta, 59, was No. 246 with a net worth of $2.7 billion. Tilman Fertitta’s privately held Houston-based Landry’s, a restaurant and entertainment conglomerate, owns the Golden Nugget resorts in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

■ New York billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, 70, who owns the nongaming Trump International just off the Strip, was listed at No. 156 with a net worth of $3.7 billion.

■ David Duffield, the only Nevada billionaire who doesn’t live in Southern Nevada, was on the list at No. 73 with net worth of $6.7 billion. The Incline Village resident, a business software developer, created PeopleSoft, which he sold to Oracle, and is co-founder of Workday.

— Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk (No. 34, $11.6 billion net worth) developer of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Hyperloop, has a considerable Nevada presence, building a $1.3 billion gigafactory to manufacture batteries for Tesla in Northern Nevada and turning over development of the Hyperloop transportation system to two companies, one based in North Las Vegas.

— Los Angeles-based real estate developer Ed Roski (No. 110, $4.9 billion net worth) owns Majestic Realty, formerly a partner in the effort to build a $1.9 billion domed football stadium in Las Vegas. He’s also owner of the Silverton hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

— Australian James Packer (No. 453 on the list of the world’s billionaires, $3.5 billion net worth) is a financial backer of the proposed Alon hotel-casino project on the Las Vegas Strip.

— Pansy Ho of Hong Kong (No. 477 on the list of the world’s billionaires, $3.4 billion net worth) is a partner with MGM Resorts International on its MGM Grand Macau hotel-casino.

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

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

This story has been altered to reflect the change in Majestic Realty’s involvement in the football stadium project in Las Vegas.

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