LAS VEGAS -- The recession is over for a handful of Las Vegas casino executives. According to the latest government filings, top executives raked in millions more than the year before.
The numbers are mind-boggling when you consider the money top casino executives were making even during the depths of the recession. And now that business has picked up, their cool stream of money has turned into a free-flowing river.
Steve Wynn, the chairman of Wynn Resorts, made $17.7 million in 2012. It included a raise of more than $1 million from the previous year.
8 News NOW looked at Security and Exchange Commission filings and the proxy statements for top publicly traded companies.
While salaries were flat through the recession, in 2012, executive compensation bounced back. The main reason is because stocks rebounded and top executives cashed in.
Robert Goldstein, president of Global Gaming for Las Vegas Sands, saw stock awards push his total compensation for 2012 to more than $24 million.
It could be argued he earned it because the Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and has a large stake in Macau, made a $1.5 billion profit last year.
Even so, there were plenty of other CEO's around town who took home millions even though their companies lost a lot of money.
Gary Loveman of Caesars made $12.8 million, running a company that lost $1.5 billion last year. James J. Murren of MGM Resorts International pulled down $9.6 million despite the fact his company lost $1.8 billion last year.
At Boyd Gaming, Keith Smith's $2.3 million looks modest, until you consider his company lost almost $908 million in 2012.
Dr. Stephen Brown, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV, said CEO pay is decided by a company's board of directors and that's kind of like a fox guarding the henhouse.
"Boards of directors are typically made up of other CEO's from other companies," Brown said. "So they have a vested interest in seeing CEO pay remain high."
Caesars CEO Gary Loveman used company aircraft for business and pleasure, to the tune of $536,000. That is only half of what it cost to fly Steve Wynn around.
Casino executives got country club memberships and bonuses. One company even paid for their dry cleaning. Wynn got discounts on company merchandise to the tune of $23,000.
In Nevada, the typical worker makes $41,000 a year. The CEO's of America's largest companies made 354 times that. And as a group, Nevada CEO's were among the most highly compensated in the country. So, the next time you hear someone complaining about the long recession, tell them about Las Vegas casino executives. For them, 2012 was a very good year.
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