Las Vegas can make and break people in seconds. Some people come away from Sin City with their fortunes in ruins; others come away with them made. Some don’t like to come away at all, preferring to stick around and milk the entertainment industry for all its worth. These are the Steve and Elaine Wynns, the Sheldon Adelsons, and the Phillip Ruffins of the world – hugely successful people who’ve managed to revolutionize and revitalize The Strip and make a mint in the process. Not that there isn’t more to Nevado than Vegas, of course… it’s just that a disproportionate number of the state’s billionaires live there. Find out who they are as we rank the 10 richest people in Nevada.
10. Robert Bigelow – Net Worth: $1 Billion
Kicking off our list is Robert Bigelow, an entrepreneur with a net worth of $1 billion. Bigelow began his career in the 1960s as a developer of real estate. Having held a keen interest in space travel since childhood, he’s plowed much of his wealth into the investigation of UFOs, in addition to parapsychological subjects. In 1999, he founded Bigelow Aerospace, a space project that focuses on the development of habitats such as hotels and factories in space.
9. David Copperfield – Net Worth: $1 Billion
As Celebrity Net Worth notes, illusionist David Copperfield is by far the richest magician in the world. Thanks to the 515 shows he puts on each year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he pockets around $40 – $60 million annually, the combined results of which add up to a net worth of $1 billion. Copperfield began his career over 4 decades ago, gradually working up from performing magic tricks as a guest on TV shows to pulling off major stunts like making the Statue of Liberty disappear. In addition to owning the most expensive home in Las Vegas, he also owns the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts, a Vegas center dedicated to the preservation and celebration of all things magical.
8. Frank Fertitta III – Net Worth: $2 Billion
Entrepreneur Frank Joseph Fertitta III has made his billions as the CEO of Station Casinos and the founder of Zuffa LLC, a sports promotion company that runs the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Born and bred in Nevado, Fertitta now lives in Las Vegas with his wife Jill and their three children. In addition to his business activities, he’s known as a committed (and very generous) member of the Republican Party, having donated almost $10 million to various Republican candidates between 2009 and 2020.
7. Elaine Wynn – Net Worth: $2 Billion
Elaine Wynn is the twice married, twice divorced ex-wife of Steve Wynn. In 1976, she and Wynn co-founded Mirage Resorts. In 2000, they also launched Wynn Resorts. Together, they’re credited with revitalizing the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s, having either developed or repurposed famous landmarks like the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore. In 2018, Steve Wynn handed over his 12 percent share of the company after facing allegations of covering up a series of sexual allegations from numerous Wynn employees. He also agreed to give his voting rights to Elaine, after she’d previously relinquished them during their 2010 divorce. She’s now the company’s largest shareholder, with a net worth of around $2 billion.
6. Lorenzo Fertitta – Net Worth: $2 Billion
Lorenzo Fertitta is a man with a finger in almost every pie: as the chairman of Fertitta Capital, the director of Red Rock Resorts Inc., and the former owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization, he’s achieved success in everything from sports promotion to casinos, not to mention a very healthy net worth of $2 billion. According to Wikipedia, Fertitta’s commitment to philanthropic ventures runs just as deep as his commitment to making money. In addition to supporting his high school alma mater, Bishop Gorman, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he’s also known as a generous benefactor of national organizations such as the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Fisher House, the Lone Survivor Foundation, along with Las Vegas-based charities like the Nathan Adelson Hospice, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Three Square. Fertitta lives in Las Vegas with his wife and three children.
5. Phillip Ruffin – Net Worth: $2.5 Billion
Casino tycoon Phillip Ruffin is one of the wealthiest casino owners in Las Vegas, with a net worth that’s estimated to be around $2.5 billion. He began his career by creating a chain of 60 self-serve gasoline convenience stores across the midwest. In 1987, he used the profits from the business to develop his first hotel in Wichita. Over the next couple of decades, he steadily grew his empire, making history when he bought New Frontier Hotel and Casino (one of the oldest and more venerated casinos in Las Vegas) and then sold it for $1.2 billion – the largest per acre price in Las Vegas history. Although Ruffin has always preferred to fly under the radar, he gained a fair amount of press coverage when it emerged he’s the business partner of Donald Trump – the pair co-own Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.
4. Steve Wynn – Net Worth: $3.2 Billion
Casino owner, real estate developer, and art collector Steve Wynn has overseen the development of some of the country’s most popular entertainment venues, including the Golden Nugget, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Treasure Island, the Bellagio, and The Mirage. Along with his former wife, Elaine, he’s credited with revitalizing the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. In 2018, he stood down as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts following allegations of sexual misconduct. At the same time, he stood down from his position as the finance chair of the Republican Party. According to Forbes, Wynn is worth an estimated $3.2 billion.
3. Nancy Walton Laurie – Net Worth: $5.9 Billion
Nancy Walton Laurie is the daughter of “Bud” Walton, one of the co-founders of Wal-Mart. When Bud passed away in 1995, Laurie and her sister inherited his stake in the company. That alone would be sufficient to make her a billionaire, but Laurie also has form as the owner of Columbia Performing Arts Centre, the president and founder of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and the former owner of St. Louis Blues’ hockey team. Although she owns property across the country, her main residence is in Henderson, Nevada.
2. Pierre Morad Omidyar – Net Worth: $21.4 Billion
Pierre Morad Omidyar is the billionaire founder of the online auction site eBay. Today, he owns a five percent share in the company, along with a 6 percent share in Paypal, which was acquired by eBay in 2002. Additionally, he’s the founder of First Look Media and Omidyar Network, a social change venture that’s invested over $1.5 billion into organizations focused on tackling global issues. As with most of our billionaires, Omidyar owns multiple properties around the country, including Nevada.
1. Sheldon Adelson – Net Worth: $35.7 Billion (deceased)
According to spendmenot.com, Sheldon Adelson is Nevada’s wealthiest individual with a net worth of $35.7 billion. His wealth comes from a 54 percent share in Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited and the largest casino operator in the world. He also owns the newspaper Israel Hayom and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Unfortunately Sheldon passed away in January of 2021.