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Carroll School of Management

Greater Boston Resort

Stephen A. Wynn

Chairman and CEO, Wynn Resorts

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

June 8, 2016

TAKEAWAY: Greater Boston Resort

But the reason we didn’t participate in any of the other riverboats and other types of things in 37 states is because they were boxes of slots. They were places—they were structures that were built to cater to the local demand for people who like slot machines and gambling. And that’s actually not my business.

I’m a developer. I’ve got developer’s disease. My doctor says, as long as I take my medicine, I’m no danger to anyone but myself. But I like to build stuff. I like to build things where people love to go—and say, wow. And it has kept me a very happy guy all of my life. And I’m 74 now. And I started this when I was 25.

And the thing that I believed all these years—I never had any real confidence in casino gaming. To me, slot machines are all exactly the same. I can’t tell the difference, after 40-odd years, between manufacturer A and manufacturer B, for that matter.

Slot machines are all the same. They make noises—clink, clink—and they make noise— and people have fun playing them. And roulette tables and blackjack tables—they’re pieces of green fabric with colored numbers on them. They have no power.

A casino is a passive thing. It makes money if a lot of folks go through the room. And depending upon their average income, it will gross more revenue or less.

What drives people—what gets folks to put up with dealing with the inconvenience of air travel and all of the rest, and to go, is the non-casino stuff. The experiential moment that you get by going someplace that’s lovely to visit, where the rooms are beautiful, where the amenities are terrific—and most of all where you get service. Where you can live life a little larger than you can every day Monday through Friday in your normal existence. It’s a recreational, exciting experience at its best.

And although the buildings themselves are important—crystal chandeliers, hand-woven fabrics, all that sort of thing—marble and onyx—what really works to all of us in this room everywhere we go is the people—the service—because only people make people happy. And that’s 80% of the franchise. So the business I’m in is really about making my employees feel, that because they work for us, they themselves are the people they wanted to be.