Casino mogul Steve Wynn doesn’t understand these crazy millennial kids but he’s more than willing to take their money.
The Wynn Resorts boss showed up at the Mirage resort in Las Vegas on Tuesday to give the keynote address at the 16th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, an event held every three yeas to allow gaming experts to discuss items of industry concern.
It was a bittersweet return for Wynn, who developed the property before it was acquired by rival MGM Resorts. The Mirage was considered a game-changer in the Vegas market and beyond based on Wynn’s belief that casinos needed to sell themselves based on their non-gaming amenities.
Vegas Inc. quoted Wynn defining gaming as “a passive activity” that “has no value.” A roulette wheel is the same no matter the casino in which it resides, while a gaming room is “strictly a receptacle, a cash register.” Wynn believes the real driver of the casino business is “the non-casino activity … the experiential value of the enterprise.”
The XS nightclub at Wynn Encore has garnered recognition as a top watering hole, not just in Vegas but across the nation, and while Steve is happy with its fiscal performance, he claims nightclubs are “probably the only part of the business where I have cognitive dissonance.”
Steve claimed he didn’t have “a lot of respect for the nightclub crowd,” underscoring this point by saying that visits to his properties’ clubs led him to conclude that “either we have attracted every moron in the world, or there’s something about the sound that allows normal people to check their human sensibilities at the door.”
While qualifying his statements by dubbing himself “one of those old white guys,” Steve accused millennials of living in a “virtual world” and spending too much “dim-witted time” on social media. In the same breath, he declared that “enhanced self-esteem” via stellar customer service was the key to winning a customer’s loyalty, but maybe that’s part of the whole cognitive dissonance thing.
Steve appears to have made a New Year’s resolution to speak without thinking. In April, Steve talked up the upscale nature of his in-development Wynn Boston Harbor project by declaring that “nobody likes being around poor people.”