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Casino Owner's $2 Million Gift Surprises Las Vegas

The Caesars Foundation has given more than $17 million to organizations across the nation since 2010, including $1 million to Las Vegas' Opportunity Village, which benefits people with intellectual disabilities. Billionaire Phil Ruffin, who owns the Treasure Island casino, is also a heavy hitter in the nonprofit circuit but doesn't like to give and tell, his spokeswoman said.

Wynn also declined to comment through a spokesman Monday. A local newspaper named him Las Vegas' highest-earning executive of 2011. His company made a $1.3 billion profit in the first quarter of this year.

"He's lived here a long time and just wanted to give something back to the community," said Cass Palmer, president of United Way of Southern Nevada.

On the Las Vegas Strip, Wynn's name graces one of two gilded towers symbolizing his domestic empire â¿¿ the Encore and Wynn casinos. Both are among the Strip's swankiest resorts. Gold-tinted chandeliers, marble floors and decorative gardens entice guests to leave with thinner wallets. Retail areas feature fashions from Dior, Chanel, Cartier and Hermes.

Mel Echegoyen, 26, was waiting to check out from Encore on Monday morning. He lost $2,000 at the roulette and black tables during his rowdy weekend trip with friends.

"You don't see that very much," he said of Wynn's donation. "People here are on vacation. They aren't here to help."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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