Hotel and casino mogul Steve Wynn is one of the biggest developers in Las Vegas and the 512th richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
He’s known for building extravagant properties and sparing no expense; he recently spent a record-breaking $12.8 million on a set of Chinese vases to adorn a soon-to-open hotel property in Macau.
But Wynn actually came from rather modest beginnings. His father ran a string of bingo parlors and died $350,000 in debt; Wynn eventually parlayed the company into his worldwide empire.
He’s also become an avid art collector.
Wynn caused a minor uproar in the art world in 2006 when he put his elbow through a famous Picasso painting he was trying to sell to Steven A. Cohen for $139 million. After $90,000 in repairs, the painting was worth just $85 million and Wynn reportedly sued his insurance company over the difference.
Born in New Haven and raised in upstate New York, Wynn took over his father's string of bingo parlors soon after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.
During the early 1970s, Wynn bought a controlling interest in Las Vegas' Golden Nugget. He renovated the resort into a four-diamond property and later sold it for $440 million.
The Mirage, Wynn's first casino on the Las Vegas Strip, opened in 1989. The $630 million project featured a volcano and an indoor forest.
His next Las Vegas project, Treasure Island, cost $430 million and opened in 1993. There are still nightly pirate battles in the hotel's man-made lake.
Wynn's Bellagio, also on the Strip, opened in 1998. It cost $1.6 billion to build and at the time was the most expensive hotel in the world.
Wynn sold his company Mirage Resorts to MGM Grand Inc. in 2000 for $6.6 billion. His largest project to date, the Wynn Las Vegas, opened in 2005.
Wynn has also become a major developer in Macau. His Wynn Macau opened in 2006, followed by the Wynn Encore Macau in 2010. And the Wynn Cotai Resort is slated to open in 2015.
He reportedly paid a record $35.8 million for a painting by J.M.W. Turner and $47.5 million for a painting of a peasant by Vincent Van Gogh.
Wynn has also become an avid collector of Chinese art. In addition to the record-setting group of vases he just bought, he has spent millions of dollars on objects for his Macau resorts.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.