Nobody likes being around poor people

In his presentation to investors last night, Steve Wynn, owner and operator of world-class casinos, felt the need to remind the attendees that “nobody likes being around poor people.”

To put his statement into context, he was stressing that his gambling operations (which he calls “gaming” but is actually gambling) cater to the top end, that is, to the gamblers with the most to lose. That, of course, means more profits for the casino and more wealth for Wynn and his investors.

His full quote is as follows:

Or to put it in a more colloquial way, rich people only like being around rich people. Nobody like being around poor people, especially poor people. So we try and make the place feel upscale for everyone. That is to say we cater to people who have discretion and judgment and we give them a choice and we are consistent in that.

You will have to figure out how to live your life, Vera. You will have to decide whether to embrace the gospel according to Steve Wynn or the one preached and lived 2,000 years ago by the Nazarene called Jesus, who actually thought that the poor were blessed. Or by some other gospel.

You’ll encounter many people who think the way Mr. Wynn does, although, frankly, most of them have the good sense not to say it in public. And you’ll likely encounter many people who disagree with him.

I suppose one way of looking at it is having to make a decision about what will be important in your life. Or seems right and truthful to you.

I recall a time some years back that I accompanied a group of teenagers from our church to Appalachia in West Virginia to repair homes. I vividly recall being at Theodore’s home, which, to be honest, most people would call a shack. I remember Theodore being thrilled because a work party had installed a window in his home, a place without running water or electricity and, heretofore, without any natural light. He was grateful beyond words for the gift.

I also recall walking through Steve Wynn’s casino in Las Vegas. It’s a truly amazing place. It’s ornate and colorful. It truly is first class. Mr. Wynn lives there. I’ve read that the artwork in his residence can put some museums to shame. In short, it’s a world that couldn’t be farther from Theodore’s.

I don’t care if you ever meet anyone like Mr. Wynn or see the inside of someone’s home like his. But I really hope you get to meet someone like Theodore. And get to visit his or her home.

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