Over the past two decades, George Maloof and his siblings have been major players in numerous high-profile, high-stakes business ventures, investing in everything from hotel-casinos to the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise.
Despite the deafening swirl of money and celebrity that has engulfed him (think Fiesta Casino, circa 1994 and Palms Casino, circa 2002), Maloof says he stays grounded by focusing on what matters. “When you own these type of assets, being in the public eye is part of the territory,” says the Albuquerque native. “But it’s not my favorite thing. I’d rather operate casinos, create jobs, and give [back] to the community.”
Whether in the context of supporting local charities or helping to bring Las Vegas its first major professional sports franchise with the NHL’s Golden Knights, Maloof’s generosity toward Las Vegas can be traced to an early connection with the city. “I used to come here with my father when I was kid and fell in love with the city—the glamour, the lights, and more particularly ... the casinos.”
By the time Maloof arrived at the UNLV's Harrah College of Hospitality, he was serious about absorbing the business side of hospitality. “I liked that you could come [to UNLV] and learn all of these different aspects of the casino business, and then immediately apply them,” he explains. “When I got out, it was very helpful for me to have all of that knowledge, particularly the accounting skills.”
Today, Maloof freely encourages students to pursue hospitality careers, but is careful to inject some hard-earned wisdom: “It’s early mornings and long days; you’ve got to persevere; you’ve got to love it!”