WASHINGTON–A revolutionary industry executive, an entertainment visionary and an award-winning chef who has helmed two of Las Vegas’ most celebrated restaurants will be inducted this year into the Gaming Hall of Fame.
Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts; Franco Dragone, founder and artistic director of the DRAGONE Group; and Alex Stratta, executive chef of Alex at the Wynn Las Vegas, will be honored for their achievements on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the 18th annual Gaming Hall of Fame Charity Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Wynn Las Vegas will host the event, which benefits the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG).
“A quick glance down the Las Vegas Strip speaks volumes about the incredible achievements of this year’s inductees and their contributions to the gaming-entertainment industry. Whether creating spectacular resorts, breathtaking shows or mouth-watering cuisine, they all have been architects of Las Vegas’ transformation into an international vacation destination, and we are honored to welcome them into the Gaming Hall of Fame,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). Fahrenkopf will serve as honorary co-chairman of the event, along with Bill Boyd, chairman and CEO of Boyd Gaming Corporation; Terry Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE; and Gary Loveman, chairman, president and CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment.
Approaching 40 years as an executive in the gaming entertainment industry, Steve Wynn is widely credited with transforming Las Vegas into a world-renowned resort destination. Wynn’s commitment to providing customers with a high quality, one-of-a-kind resort experience has never wavered since he first took over his family’s bingo business in the 1960s. Currently chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, Wynn spent 27 years as chairman of the board for Mirage Resorts, Inc., formerly Golden Nugget, Inc. His early work at Mirage included turning the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas into a Four Diamond resort and opening the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
In 1989, Wynn opened The Mirage, a casino resort that revolutionized the planning and design of all casinos built since and ignited a $12 billion building boom, catapulting Las Vegas into the number one tourism destination in the country. During the 1990s, Wynn opened Treasure Island Hotel & Casino and Bellagio in Las Vegas, as well as Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss. In 2000, Wynn stepped down as chairman of Mirage Resorts, Inc., and created Wynn Resorts, which opened its first property, Wynn Las Vegas, in April 2005. In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Wynn is chairman of the Moran Eye Institute at the University of Utah and a member of the Advisory Board at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, on the Board of Directors for the George Bush Presidential Library and in 2003 received the International Society of Hospitality Consultant’s Pioneer Award.
For more than three decades, entertainment innovator Franco Dragone has wowed international audiences with his spectacular shows that merge circus with theater to create a unique and unforgettable entertainment experience. Dragone worked for more than 10 years as a creative collaborator with Cirque du Soleil, creating a number of acclaimed productions including traveling shows Le Cirque Réinventé (1987), La Magie Continue (1989), Nouvelle Experience (1990), Saltimbanco (1992), Alegria (1994), Quidam (1996) and La Nouba (1999), as well as Las Vegas exclusives Mystére (1993) and O (1998).
In 2000, Dragone formed his own company, DRAGONE Group, to autonomously manage and create all aspects of his productions. DRAGONE created A New Day for, with and about Celine Dion, which has played to more than one million patrons. His most recent achievement is the creation of Le Rêve for Wynn Las Vegas. Le Rêve represents a new form of visual theater that combines artistic performance with multimedia effects and is staged in a domed, in-the-round theater that is the first of its kind in Las Vegas. Dragone is the winner of three Obie awards and the Los Angeles Critics’ Award for outstanding achievement. He also was awarded the Insignia of Knighthood from the National Order of Quebec in 2002.
The fourth generation in a family of restaurateurs and hoteliers, chef Alessandro “Alex” Stratta has served as executive chef at two of Las Vegas’ restaurants to be honored with the AAA Five Diamond designation. Stratta brought his talents to Las Vegas in 1998 as executive chef of Renoir at The Mirage. During his tenure, Renoir at The Mirage received Mobil’s highest five-star rating, one of only 14 restaurants in the U.S. to be awarded the honor at that time. The restaurant also received the AAA’s Five Diamond award and Las Vegas’ top culinary rating in the Zagat Guide. Stratta’s newest restaurant, Alex, opened at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005. Featuring refined French cuisine, Alex recently received a Five Diamond rating from AAA.
Stratta has worked in some of the world’s finest establishments from the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco to the Hotel du Paris and Louis XV in Monaco. In 1989, Stratta was named executive chef of Mary Elaine’s at the five-star Phoenecian Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., which received a Mobil four star rating under his leadership. Stratta’s long list of culinary awards includes being designated one of “America’s Ten Best Chefs” by Food & Wine, and being named “1998 Best Chef in the Southwest” and one of the “Best Hotel Chefs” by the James Beard Foundation.
Induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame is the highest honor accorded by the gaming-entertainment industry. Each year, two or more individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry receive this honor. More than 50 people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame since its inception 1989.
For information about sponsorship opportunities for the dinner, contact Brett DeWeese at 203-840-5341 or [email protected]. Ticket information is available on the NCRG Web site (www.ncrg.org).