Poker Hall of Famer Bobby Baldwin Named CEO of Newest Las Vegas Casino

  • Bobby Baldwin has been named CEO of the unfinished Drew Las Vegas
  • He is also the vice chairman of the casino resort's development company, Witkoff
  • Previously held high-profile positions at the Golden Nugget, Mirage, and City Center
businessmen shaking hands
Poker Hall of Famer Bobby Baldwin has been named CEO of Drew Las Vegas, a new casino that is being built directly opposite Circus Circus on the Strip. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

High-profile appointment

Poker legend Bobby Baldwin has been named CEO of Drew Las Vegas, which is the newest casino to be built on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

As well as being named CEO of the new casino, Baldwin has also been announced as the vice chairman of Witkoff, the real estate company in charge of developing Drew Las Vegas.

The 69-year-old has taken up these roles with immediate effect. Steven Witkoff, chairman and chief executive officer at Witkoff Group, praised the appointment of Baldwin. He said that while final preparations for construction were being completed, the company had

a unique opportunity to work with a transformational leader who has unrivaled experience.”

Witkoff went on to speak about how Baldwin has been a leading figure in numerous Las Vegas resorts over the years, including the Bellagio and the Mirage. The high-stakes area in the Bellagio’s poker room is called “Bobby’s Room” after the Oklahoma native.

Baldwin’s transition from poker into operations

While Baldwin had a very successful poker career, he eventually moved into the backend business of the gambling industry. It was in the early 1980s that he had been president of the Golden Nugget.

Baldwin then moved on to become the chief financial officer at Mirage Resorts in 1999. After Steven Wynn sold Mirage Resorts to the MGM, Baldwin was then announced as CEO of the MGM Mirage.

He was named president and CEO of City Center in 200. At the same time, he held the role of chief customer development officer at MGM Resorts. It was a little more than twelve months ago that Baldwin resigned from these two positions.

Baldwin spoke about his excitement for the latest stage in his career, saying: “Witkoff’s proven track record in global real estate development, financing, and operations makes this the right opportunity, particularly when combined with the introduction of the Drew.”

Plans for newest casino on the Strip

Drew Las Vegas is being built on the northside of the Las Vegas Strip, directly opposite the Circus Circus. It started out its development as the Fontainebleau Las Vegas but the development company went bankrupt and the project was not completed.

It was in 2017 that Witkoff bought this site for $600m from billionaire Carl Icahn, who had bought the site at a bankruptcy auction in 2010 for $150m.

The original plan was for the resort to open at some stage in 2020. However, there have been a number of delays, which means that the scheduled opening date will now be some time in the second quarter of 2022.

Witkoff bought this site for $600m from billionaire Carl Icahn, who had bought the site at a bankruptcy auction in 2010 for $150m

When the resort is finished, it will be the second-tallest piece of real estate in the city, only behind the Stratosphere’s observation tower.

The casino is named after the son of Steven Witkoff, Andrew, who passed away after an overdose of OxyContin in 2011 when he was just 22 years old.

Illustrious poker career

Baldwin has won four World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets throughout his career as a pro. Baldwin was a prolific poker player in the late 1970s when he won his four bracelets.

The most notable victory was at the WSOP Main Event in 1978. At the time of this win, Baldwin was the youngest player of the event at 28 years old. He was entered into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2003.