This morning, the 38th edition of the Forbes 400, the famous annual ranking of the richest Americans, was released, and again it was bad news for the Las Vegas area. Of the seven locals on last year’s list, two dropped off completely, and most showed a decline in their individual net worth.
From a ranking standpoint, the biggest losers were brothers Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta, casino owners who last year were tied at No. 388 with net worths of $2.1 billion each year. Thanks to a 30% decline in the share price of their Red Rock Casinos, their stash is now assessed at $1.9 billion each, a 9½% decline. That put them below this year’s cutoff of $2.1 billion, and likely ranked in a tie for No. 404. But that’s no cigar on a list of 400.
From a dollar standpoint, the biggest loser was 86-year-old casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. His estimated net worth dropped a full $1 billion, from $35½ billion last year to $34½ billion this year. But he’s still the richest person–by far–in Las Vegas and all of Nevada, although his rank on the Forbes 400 fell two clicks from No. 15 to No. 17.
The richest woman in the Las Vegas area and Nevada remains Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, 68. She had a really good year, the only person within the Las Vegas contingent who did. Her net worth rose a cool $1 billion, from $5.7 billion to $6.7 billion, and her rank on the list from No. 109 to No. 85.
Eying the others from the New To Las Vegas world headquarters:
—Steve Wynn, 77, fallen casino visionary and owner, saw his net worth rise by $100 million from $3.0 billion to $3.1 billion. But his rank on the Forbes 400 dropped four clicks from 271 to 275.
—Phil Ruffin, 84, half-owner with Donald Trump in the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and full owner of the nearby Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, remained the same at $2.7 billion. His ranking, though, dropped 17 clicks from No. 302 to No. 319.
—Elaine Wynn, 77, ex-wife of Steve Wynn, saw her net worth drop $100 million from $2.2 billion to $2.1 billion. Her rank fell from 368 to a 13-way tie for No. 388 at the bottom of the list.
The only other person from Nevada on the list is software tycoon David Duffield, 79, who lives on the shores of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village. His net worth was put at $10.7 billion, a hefty $1.1 billion boost from last year’s $9.6 billion. His rank increased from No. 47 to No. 45.
This is the second year in a row that two from Las Vegas dropped off the list. Last year, Andrew Cherng and Peggy Cherng, husband and wife co-founders of the Panda Express Chinese restaurant chain, were taken off after Forbes decided to rank them individually, and neither made the $2.1 billion cutoff.
No. 1 on the Forbes 400 list remain Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, 55. His net worth declined from $160 billion to $119 billion due to a divorce settlement with his now ex-wife, Mackenzie Bezos. She debuted on the list at No. 15 as America’s third-richest woman, with a net worth of $36.1 billion.
America is now so lousy with billionaires that 221 of them, like the Fertitta brothers, weren’t billionaire enough to make the Forbes 400. Life near the top can be so hard.