Mitch Garber rose from humble beginnings to head up a $2.5-billion empire

Mitch Garber has been up and down the seven kilometre long Las Vegas Strip hundreds of times. He knows it like the back of his hand.

See Full Article

Everyone knows him, and everywhere he goes, he’s greeted by “Hey Mitch. How’s it going?” The 51-year-old Canadian is one of the strip’s most influential powerbrokers.

You could call him “The Ringmaster”.

On the day we join him, the lawyer-businessman points out the Vegas landmarks he is responsible for overseeing as CEO of Caesar’s Acquisition Company, which owns six casinos and hotels in the U.S., four in Vegas.

He’s also head of Caesar’s Interactive Entertainment which controls the World Series of Poker.

And last year, Cirque du Soleil creator Guy Laliberté wooed him into becoming Chairman and investing in the world famous circus.

“Guy and I have been friends for a long time. When he decided he was going to sell the Cirque du Soleil, I ended up involved with one of the groups trying to buy the company,” he recalled in an interview with W5.

For all of this, he’s worth around $200 million, something he doesn’t like to discuss or admit.

You can’t help but like this man. Humble and nice would probably describe Mitch Garber. Put aside the high profile career and glamourous lifestyle, he seems pretty grounded.

“I don’t have a temper. I try not to get too high and I try not to get too low.”

Mitch was born and grew up in Montreal. His rise to the ranks of self-made mega millionaire, a bit of a rags to riches story.

“I was kind of the poorest kid surrounded by a very wealthy community and I wanted what other people had”.

He was raised by a school teacher mother and entrepreneur father.

His father, Steve Garber, was an innovative restauranteur, the first person to deliver pizza to homes in North America, even before Domino’s did it in the mid-60s. But Steve Garber also had an unhealthy habit of playing the stock market and eventually lost his fortune. Tragedy followed, when he took his own life. To this day, it haunts Mitch.

“Sadly he was a very tortured person. And I don’t know all the reasons why and I don’t know all the levels of internal conflict that he had.”

Mitch admits his father’s legacy has driven him to succeed. “I think he would be satisfied hopefully that I’m a good father, a good husband and that I’ve made a success out of myself professionally and used that law degree to do good things.”

The three days W5 spent with Mitch Garber in Las Vegas were like a whirlwind. From watching a rehearsal of Cirque du Soleil’s production of KÀ, to a front row seat at the World Series of Poker Final, to celebrating victory at one of the strip’s most impressive nightclubs, and hanging out with Celine Dion, just prior to her performance at The Coliseum in Caesar’s Palace. He’s a friend.

“Not only do I pinch myself and ask how did I get here, I sit in meetings with some of the most famous business people and multibillionaires in the world. And I often say to myself. Are you really here?”

It brings us back to what keeps him grounded. Family, wife Anne-Marie, sons Ryan and Dylan; and Montreal, home-base, despite the millions in taxes he pays, which he wouldn’t have to if he lived in Las Vegas, which is a tax free jurisdiction.

“I wanted my kids to have the same Canadian feeling, the same Quebec upbringing and education that I had and my wife had.”

While many Canadians until now may never have heard of Mitch Garber, Quebecers know him as a lawyer who specialized in gaming and gaming laws, a youthful TV sports interviewer and a dragon on the French language version of “Dragon’s Den”-- ”Dans l’oeil du dragon”.

Add it all up and life can’t get much better, although like some of the contestants on “Dans l’oeil du dragon”, who fail to convince the dragons, Mitch also has tales of missed opportunities.

“I met the owner of Hotmail when he was just starting Hotmail and he offered me to join and invest in his company and I said there’s no money to be made here in free email,” he laughs, recalling that Hotmail was eventually bought by Microsoft for $500 million.

But an important part of Mitch’s story is not just about being successful; it is also about paying it forward. He’s made a pledge to give away $1 million annually to charity. He says that with great success comes a moral responsibility. It’s something he believes would have made his father proud.

Watch the W5 episode of The Ringmaster on Saturday, Feb. 13 on CTV



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Surveys asking if men are superior, whether gays deserve equal rights spark a research rethink

    Economic CBC News
    How would you react if you agreed to do an online survey about the environment in exchange for Air Miles and were asked to agree or disagree with the following statements?Society has gone too far in granting gays and lesbians equal rights. Source
  • Fix tax rate or risk business exodus, trade association warns

    Economic CBC News
    Another of Canada's largest business groups is warning that Ottawa needs to act now to lower corporate taxes or risk a continued exodus of investment and jobs to the United States. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, which represents 2,500 companies, released a report this week that paints a bleak picture of the business landscape in this country: declining investment in new equipment and technology, a sharp drop in foreign investment in Canada. Source
  • Asian stocks rise despite tariff tension

    Economic CTV News
    OKYO - Asian stock markets mostly rose Thursday as concern fades over the trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Uncertainty remains, but the original tariff threats made earlier in the week were not followed by material action. Source
  • Judge awards Dow Chemical US$1B in damages against Nova Chemicals

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON -- A judge has awarded Dow Chemical Canada $1.06 billion in damages against Nova Chemicals Corporation in a dispute over a massive ethylene plant in central Alberta. The dispute centred around the operation of a production facility in Joffre known as E3. Source
  • Tim Hortons spending $100M to revamp distribution, open new warehouses

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Tim Hortons will spend $100 million to revamp its distribution system and open two new Canadian warehouses, months after some franchisees were angered when supply deliveries from the company were delayed because of software upgrades. Source
  • N.S. hopes to expand offshore oil, environmentalists criticize move

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia has committed millions of dollars to encourage offshore exploration, hoping to bring billions more in oil riches -- even as ecologists say the cash would be better used to counter carbon emissions. Source
  • Nexen Energy announces $400M expansion of its oilsands project in Alberta

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Nexen Energy says it will spend about $400 million to build a 26,000-barrel-per-day expansion of its Long Lake oilsands project in northern Alberta. The company, which was purchased by Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co. Source
  • Swoop Airlines: What you need to know about Canada's new low-cost carrier

    Economic CTV News
    Just before sunrise, Canada’s newest ultra-low cost airline saw its first flight take to the skies. Swoop, a no-frills airline launched by WestJet, carried an inaugural group of travellers on Wednesday morning from Hamilton, Ont. Source
  • Burger King sorry for ad encouraging women to get impregnated by World Cup players

    Economic CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Burger King has apologized for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who get pregnant by World Cup players. Critics assailed the offer, announced on Russian social media, as sexist and demeaning. Source
  • S&P/TSX composite index hits record closing high

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's main stock index closed at a record high Wednesday, boosted by a broad-based rally led by health care, energy, and consumer staples stocks. The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 104.42 points at 16,420.95, topping its previous record of 16,412.94 set Jan. Source