Wynn is Wired

I’ve often thought that casinos were technological and organizational marvels. Thousands of people spread out over thousands of square feet, working together (usually) to accomplish the mutually contradictory goals of making sure the house always wins and keeping the customer happy. It turns out I’ve been understating things–according to Steve Wynn, his latest casino is on par with the pyramids–and not the one down the block, either.

From Wired:

As Steve Wynn appeared atop his new 50-story eponymous hotel-casino on the Vegas Strip earlier this year for the property’s first TV ads, viewers were left wondering, “How’d he do that?”

But it’s actually more startling and intriguing to find Wynn at the base of the same gargantuan resort property, on a patio outside the Wynn Las Vegas’ ice cream shop where the gleaming bronze-glass tower is separated from a 140-foot, man-made mountain by a 30-foot-wide river. There, the hotel visionary seems dwarfed and consumed — literally and figuratively — by his own creations, awed that they ever got built and, surprisingly, not nearly as larger-than-life as might be expected from someone whose place in Vegas lore is more secure than anyone of his era.

Mostly, though, he’s defensive — and very annoyed. His new creation was received by some travel writers and architectural critics not with the awe they greeted his Mirage in 1989 and Bellagio in 1998 but with questions about why it cost a record-breaking $2.7 billion and with mocking of Wynn’s over-the-top boasts that this resort is the most complex structure ever built. Yes, ever.

And yet, Wynn doesn’t back down. On an exclusive tour with Wired News this month, the 63-year-old hotelier goes further than ever, exclaiming “The engineering and the coordination of putting those two things together — the tower and the mountain — make a pyramid of Egypt look like a Lego toy! A Lego toy!”

It’s that sort of comment that gets Wynn, 63, into trouble. Comparing a Vegas casino — each of which is likely to be imploded and rebuilt, by the next century anyway — to the world’s greatest and most enduring structures is an invitation to snickering, even if it might actually be true. But if others question whether his Trump-like hubris has brought him this backlash, Wynn himself wonders why few have asked him to explain the claim.

If they had, they’d hear a litany of technological firsts and construction challenges at Wynn Las Vegas that do seem to put it in a league of its own in Vegas and in America, if not worldwide.

Move Over Pyramids, Wynn’s Here

It’s a good piece that walks the golden mean between gushing over everything Mr. Wynn says and automatically rejecting it. There are also some neat audio bites that you can play.

I think that, as the limits of size, elegance, and design are reached, casino builders will increasingly turn to new technologies to raise the bar. This will be reflected in mundane ways–less expensive, more efficient materials and designs–and flashier ones, such as the special effects at Wynn, which I think are pretty incredible.

I imagine that, when space tourism becomes a reality, space casinos will not be far behind. Sure RNG-based video slots will grind on in zero-g like here, but imagine the possibilities for roulette and craps, or the new games that people will imagine.

Or, they’ll just buy lottery tickets.

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