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Ed Vogel

Wynn tells legislators: Nevada gaming industry not healthy

2 May 2013

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- Gaming magnate Steve Wynn met behind closed doors with the governor and legislative leaders Wednesday, proclaiming in a brief interview that the gaming industry is not in a “healthy” condition and future growth will be in places other than Nevada.

“Right now the gaming industry has a serious health problem,” said Wynn in a brief hallway interview.

When asked whether he favored or opposed higher taxes, his response was, “I am not a legislator.”

He visited first privately with Gov. Brian Sandoval in the Capitol, then with legislative leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas. She left after only a few minutes.

After speaking with Denis, Wynn went to the office of Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, to talk with him.

Before that, he met with other legislators in a vacant office in the Legislative Building.

He was accompanied during his visit by former Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins.

Sandoval declined comment about his meeting with Wynn. Denis would not respond to questions about his meeting with Wynn.

The majority leader and speaker are expected in the next couple of day to release a plan to increase a variety of taxes, a plan expected to be dead on arrival among Sandoval and Republicans. The Republicans have the power to block any tax increases.

“We are just up here today to try and share insights as we see the gaming industry,” Wynn said. “We want them to know what the real outlook of the industry is and that understanding will lead them to proper decisions going forward.”

Further growth in the gaming industry is not going to occur in Nevada, but Nevada needs to make sure it has a healthy product that will bring visitors to the state, he said.

Wynn infrequently has visited the Legislature. In 1999 he visited privately with legislative leaders. That session he sought and received tax breaks on the purchase of his $400 million art collection. As a condition, he was required to offer discount tickets to Nevadans to visit the art work when it was displayed in the Bellagio.