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Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas
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Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Wall Street Journal columnist Christina Binkley takes an up-close-and-personal look at how Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, and Dr. Gary Loveman are building a bigger and better Las Vegas and how their influence is spreading beyond the city's borders.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Hyperion (first published 2008)
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Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
This book would not be as interesting if you haven't seen Las Vegas in the past decade. The author gives an account of the three biggest players in the casino business - how they grew in wealth, which resorts they built/purchased, what they were like personally, and how the Las Vegas Strip changed because of them. It was mostly interesting, but at times I found myself bored with too much detail.
Gmendra Lau
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
William Krasne
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't know a lot about the how Las Vegas came to be what it is today, and this book did a good job of describing that story. It focuses mainly on the rivalry between two Vegas casino moguls, Steve Wynn and Kirk Kerkorian (Gary Loveman of Harrah's / Caesars features more prominently in the book's second half). Vegas is sui generis and the book treats on that, though I would have enjoyed more about how Wynn and Kerkorian started their empires - that was glossed over. Additionally, Sheldon Adels ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-finance
Winner takes all provides a great look at the modern development of Las Vegas from the early 1990's through the opening of the Wyn Hotel and Resort in recent years. It is a detailed approach of the major players in the Kerkorian, Wynn and Harrah's group(Gary Loveman) that also focuses on the peripheral players except the Sands Corporation (Venetian). From the grandiose plans of Steve Wynn via Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio to the coming of Kerkorian and rise of MGM Grand; Winner takes all ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wynn, Kerkorian and Loveman managed to put diplomacy into non hostile takeovers. It's all a game albeit high stakes. It's Vegas Baby! Great introduction and again diplomatic view into Vegas in the 90's with some references to past and future. I finished wanting to read more about the current dynamics/Las Vegas expansions and developements.

I picked up Running Scared - The Life and Treacherous Times of LAS VEGAS CASINO KING STEVE WYNN (overdramatized fonts in the book design)- "A critical unauthor
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great read! Author was a WSJ writer who covered the gambling/casino sector for the paper for 5 years - so she gets pretty technical about Kerkorian's takover bids, etc. BUT - she makes it clear that the craziness behind the casino building is not about the consumers but more the crazy ego and mega moguls competing to run the show! Who knew that Steve Wynn is nearly blind? But goes over every material and visual detail of his casinos. I also love how she touches on the rise of the MBAs (she calls ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Very interesting look at Wynn, Kerkorian, Loveman and their personalities and philosophies that created modern Las Vegas. Lots of insider info, you were there quotes as if you are witnessing conversations, etc. Written by Christina Binkley, a columnist for the WSJ who covered Las Vegas from 1997 until 2005. Says conversations quoted took place during her interviews, in her presence, or were relayed to her by the participants unless otherwise stated. No footnotes. Easy reading. I'm interested in ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book on the inside story of Las Vegas from the 1990s to 2005. Also provides short biographies on Wynn, Kerkorian, Loveman and a few other players in Las Vegas. Gives you an appreciation of the genius of Steve Wynn, who is virtually responsible for making Las Vegas what it is today. Kerkorian sums it up best, after buying out Mirage Resorts from Wynn but selling the Desert Inn to Wynn afterwards. Someone pointed out to Kerkorian that Wynn will build another hotel on the Desert Inn p ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
I pulled this off the Strand dollar-book shelf figuring that even though it was a trashy business story, I'd learn a few things about gambling and the madness that is Vegas along the way. Mostly, though, I ended up learning a little bit about how the pre-crash, pre-Spitzer stock market worked (badly) and how hostile takeovers happen, and then a lot more about the sartorial choices of the three casino execs. That said, Vegas can't help but appear throughout, and is there a better character?
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a modern history of Las Vegas, essentially starting with the building of the Mirage. It was very interesting and informative, with lots of anecdotes. Many of the events seem to have been actually witnessed by the author, which is cool. The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is because the format was kind of confusing, and the author jumped around a lot.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this book a few months back, quickly because I enjoyed it alot. It basically covers the building of modern Vegas and the primary competitors there including Wynn, Kerkorian, and Gary Loveman... Lots of business, personality, and feel for what it's like to be in that competive space and lifestyle. I love the entrepreneurial stuff.
Hugh McBride
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well written, detail-rich behind-the-scenes account of the "rebirth" of the Las Vegas strip in the past 20 years. Appears to be thoroughly researched, yet Binkley doesn't let the narrative get bogged down in facts & figures -- excellent blend of business reporting & insights into the personalities that drove the latest remarkable era in the history of this remarkable city.
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
A glimpse into the big-wig world of Las Vegas casinos. Some of the people I've worked with directly, others are names in the news and on the street. Many of the antidotes have been around for years. Lots of meaningless fluff, such as the colors of shirts worn at meetings.
Taken with a grain of salt, it's an interesting read.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is written in a very easy to read leisurely style. It gives a nice concise look at how Las Vegas went from Sin City through their 'family-town' era and to their present 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' motto. It also gives a fun look at the main characters and how they see the casino business. Overall, this was a fun and interesting read.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book. I love reading about Steve and Elaine Wynn and I didn't know too much about Kerkorian or Loveman so it was interesting to find out how Las Vegas became what it is today. I really loved the book, but it may not be as fascinating to those not in the hospitality industry (or at least interested in it).
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Among the recent books covering the development of Las Vegas, this one ranks pretty high. At times, takes too much of a "business school" approach. The real story lies in the personalities and plans/visions. A few pots shots at Steve Wynn, but I guess that is to be expected.
Jul 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios
There was NO doubt I'd like this book, given my love of Las Vegas and all things Steve. Parts were difficult to read when my idol wasn't exactly seen in the rosy light of my eyes but that was more than made up for by recognizing things that were going on right when I was there!
Andrew Macdonald
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
? Pushed to finish book , jumped around a lot . Good Info , I guess I think not enough info about each person . Not on a timeline either. Would recommend but not highly.
Mar 13, 2011 rated it liked it
better than average
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed reading the stories behind the glitz of Vegas.
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The author mentioned Stanford and "Cardinals" in the same sentence. What kind of fact checking is that?!
Ryan Overall
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Quite an interesting tale on the constantly changing landscape of las vegas. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
My brother really wanted me to read this, but I only got through five chapters before I had to stop from sheer boredom.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very interesting.

If you love Las Vegas, you may enjoy this behind the scenes history of the redevelopment of the strip in the past twenty years.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, favorites
I don't know why, but I have a fascination with Las Vegas. I don't ever gamble but for some reason the city and its history draw my attention. For me, this was a fun book to read.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: entrepreneurs
It reads like a novel about Vegas.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
It tells the tale of the huge casinos that I saw being built in Las Vegas. It is fascinating to anyone who loves Las Vegas
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Las Vegas has undergone a radical change in the last 20 years. Two people are mostly responsible. If you like visiting Vegas, you'll like this book.
Stephen Campbell
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great history of the mega growth years in Las Vegas.
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