Phil Ruffin

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Phil Ruffin
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Occupation Businessman
Net worth Increase US$2.3 billion (January 2015)[1]

Phillip G. Ruffin (born 1936) is an American businessman. His business interests lie largely in casinos, greyhound racing tracks, oil production, convenience stores, and real estate. Ruffin lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ruffin has been listed on the Forbes 400 list of the country's richest people multiple times, most recently at #215 in 2008 with a net worth of $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion in 2014.[2] In the 2006 list, he was listed at #606 on the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires, with a reported net worth of $1.3 billion.[3] (This figure was before his 2007 record-setting sale of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.)

Early life and career[edit]

Ruffin is from Wichita, Kansas and dropped out of college.[4]

In 1972, Ruffin pioneered self-serve gasoline in Kansas, creating a chain of 60 convenience stores in the Midwest. In 1987, he then used cash from the convenience stores to build his first hotel, a Marriott in Wichita. His businesses also included oil distribution and one of the country's largest manufacturers of hand trucks.[5]

In 1994, Ruffin leased his convenience stores to Total, using the money to purchase more hotels. Then, in 1995, Ruffin acquired the Crystal Place casino resort in the Bahamas. Mortgaging the casino, Ruffin then purchased the New Frontier Hotel and Casino.[5]


Ruffin's reputation is one of shying away from press coverage and publicity, so many details of his life are not well cited. Ruffin has been married two times. On January 6, 2008 the then-72-year-old Ruffin married the then-26-year-old supermodel and Miss Ukraine 2004 title holder Oleksandra Nikolayenko.[6] Ruffin has a total of 4 children.

Ruffin appeared on the 7th season of GSN's High Stakes Poker.


New Frontier Hotel and Casino[edit]

Ruffin is best known for his purchase of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, one of the Strip's venerable properties. When he bought the resort from Margaret Elardi and her family, it had been mired in a longtime, sometimes violent strike with the Culinary Workers Union, one of the most powerful unions in Las Vegas. Ruffin settled the strike very soon after his purchase in 1998. Soon after, the casino-hotel became known as the New Frontier.

Ruffin announced plans to demolish the New Frontier and replace it with a new resort to be called The Montreaux, but the development never got off the ground.

Ruffin sold the New Frontier to El Ad Properties in 2007. The $1.2 billion sale price for the 36 acres (15 ha) property was the largest per-acre price in The Strip's history.[7]

Treasure Island[edit]

MGM Mirage sold Treasure Island Hotel and Casino to Phil Ruffin. The negotiated price was $600 million in cash and $175 million in secured notes.[8] Ruffin estimates that to build a casino like Treasure Island from the ground up would cost $2.7 billion. The Treasure Island is about 700 yards from the site of his former casino, the New Frontier. In calendar year 2008, Treasure Island reported $376M in revenue (down from $431M in 2007) and $101M in EBITDA.[9] Ruffin expressed his lack of concern about buying a casino in a down market, because the TI will have very little debt. Ruffin took complete ownership of the hotel and casino resort in the early morning of March 20, 2009.

Trump International Tower[edit]

Ruffin's joint venture with his good friend Donald Trump involved a portion of the New Frontier land. The Trump International Hotel and Tower, built immediately adjacent to the Fashion Show Mall, broke ground in July 2005.[10] The tower opened in March 2008, and plans for an identical second tower have been announced. Ruffin has half interest in the development, having contributed the land for his part of the deal.[11]

Wichita Greyhound Park[edit]

Ruffin's company owns Wichita Greyhound Park. On August 7, 2007, Ruffin announced that he would close the track, after a referendum to allow slot machines or casino gambling at the track failed.[12]

Convenience stores[edit]

Ruffin Companies' web site states that the company owns 61 convenience stores leased to Total and operated by Diamond Shamrock over a three-state area.[13]


Ruffin's Hotel Group division owns and operates 13 hotels under the Marriott Hotels, Fairfield Inn and Courtyard by Marriott brands in Oklahoma, Kansas, California, Texas and Alabama.[14]

Real estate[edit]

Ruffin owns various commercial real estate holdings in Kansas and in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.


Ruffin owns and operates Harper Trucks, the world's largest manufacturer of hand trucks[15] and Angelus Manufacturing, a maker of steel hand trucks.[16] In Dec. 2013 Ruffin purchased the assets of Torrance, CA based WelCom Products, makers of the Magna Cart line of folding hand trucks sold in major retailers across the US and over 25 countries worldwide.


  1. ^ "Phillip Ruffin - Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Forbes 400: #215 Phillip Ruffin". Forbes. 17 Sep 2008. 
  3. ^ "Billionaires: #606 Phillip Ruffin". Forbes. 2006. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b Benston, Liz (26 April 2009). "An empire built on assets, not debt". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Beauty Queen Marries 72-Year-Old". What's On Kiev. Retrieved Dec 2008. 
  7. ^ Stutz, Howard (2007-05-16). "MORE THAN $1.2 BILLION: New Frontier sale sets record". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  8. ^ Benston, Liz; Finnegan, Amanda (20 March 2009). "From MGM to Ruffin: Treasure Island changes hands". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "MGM MIRAGE Supplemental Financial Data March 2009" (PDF). MGM-Mirage. 
  10. ^ "Ruffin Companies: Ground Broken on Trump International Hotel and Tower Las Vegas". Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  11. ^ Who Owns Vegas: Ruffin Companies
  12. ^ Laviana, Hurst; Dion Lefler (2007-08-07). "With slots out, Ruffin says he'll close track". The Wichita Eagle. 
  13. ^ "Ruffin Companies: Properties". Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  14. ^ "Ruffin Companies: Hotel Group". Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  15. ^ "Phil Ruffin to expand Harper Trucks once again with a major account". Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Home page". Angelus Manufacturing. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 

External links[edit]