Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

Currently: 58° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Casino mogul Steve Wynn makes rare trip to Carson City to meet with lawmakers

Updated Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 4:27 p.m.

Wynn Talks With Media

Steve Wynn meets with the media in a villa at Wynn Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Making a rare trip to Carson City today, casino billionaire Steve Wynn met with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to lobby his case for a gentle approach to taxing the gaming industry, arguing it is still struggling to come out of recession at a time casinos are proliferating in other jurisdictions.

Wynn's meeting comes as Democrats prepare to release details of a tax plan that may include changes to the way the industry is taxed on its live entertainment venues and could eliminate property tax breaks it now enjoys.

Emerging from a small corner room inside the legislative building, Wynn said his job is to help give lawmakers a "general understanding" of the state of the industry.

"Right now, the industry has a real serious health problem," Wynn told reporters in a brief gaggle after his meeting with Democrats.

He argued the gaming industry's recovery from the economic recession is endangered by the growth of casinos in other jurisdictions and said lawmakers must consider how to keep it healthy going forward.

Wynn met with Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis individually for more than 20 minutes. Neither Democratic leader had a comment directly after the meeting.

Democrats have generally been at odds with Wynn, who has contributed heavily to Republican campaigns and has been an outspoken critic of taxes.

Kirkpatrick is studying ways to reform the live entertainment tax and is looking for tax breaks to eliminate in an effort to fix the state's tax system and generate more revenue for education and other state services.

After his meeting with Democrats, Wynn walked down the hall to meet with Republican Minority Leader Michael Roberson and five other Senate Republicans who have pitched a mining tax increase.

Wynn also met with Gov. Brian Sandoval earlier in the afternoon. Sandoval's spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner had no comment on what they discussed.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki also had a brief meeting with Wynn, who could be seen standing and speaking animatedly at Krolicki.

Krolicki had no comment after the meeting, but a staff member said the pair were discussing "what Democrats" want to do with taxes.

A Democrat familiar with the meeting with Denis would only describe the meeting as "productive."

In 1989, when lawmakers were debating a mining tax increase, Wynn came out strongly in favor of taking the industry's tax protections out of the constitution. But lawmakers who met with Wynn today said mining "didn't really" come up.

Sen. Mark Hutchison said Wynn spoke of the gaming industry's struggles and cautioned lawmakers against turning to casinos to provide more state funding.

"He said we need find a way to make sure education is funded in a way that doesn't include going back to gaming," he said.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 4 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. "Oh, please don't. I don't want my billions reduced by a few cents."

  2. The sands just posted a $572 Million dollar record profit and this guy is there with hat in hand.

    Some one please bring me a hanky!

  3. What type of Government access do you think an ordinary Nevada Service Job Employee of Wynn's would have?
    Mining, Casinos and plenty of other wealthy Individuals have thrown tokens at the State, while raking in Millions. Where are the Great Medical Centers, Museums, Universities that other wealthy individuals sponsor in many other states (plus in most cases pay far higher taxes). Stop the Free Ride, If Wynn or Addleson, etc. Leave - then good riddance.

  4. The casino bosses and their lackeys in all levels of Nevada government no longer even try to hide their corruption.