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How Vegas CEOs are betting on the White House

LAS VEGAS — No city in America is more susceptible to the national mood than right here. When people feel good, they visit. When they feel worried, they don't.

And right now the CEOs who rule the Strip are very worried. Worried about who will win the White House, worried about what this election will do to consumer confidence, and worried about its potential impact on foreign tourism.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Eleanor Scriven | Robert Harding | Getty Images

"I'm hoping that after tomorrow we won't have to talk about Donald Trump," said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday.

A lifelong Republican, Murren has publicly thrown his support behind Hillary Clinton, in part because of her policies on trade. "Donald Trump has alienated every trading partner we've had," Murren said. "Secretary Clinton will work with our trading partners."

Murren is the only CEO visibly supporting Clinton. Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, has reportedly put $35 million into anti-Clinton Super PACs. Adelson is a well-known GOP fundraiser who also happens to be the richest man in Las Vegas with an estimated net worth of $32 billion.

However, as much as Adelson is fighting Clinton, he has apparently not put any money directly into Trump's campaign, though the Las Vegas newspaper he owns endorsed Trump for president.

On the other hand, Phil Ruffin has given money directly to Trump, and he will be at the candidate's side Tuesday night in New York watching election returns. "He can negotiate with anyone, the best I've ever seen," said Ruffin, who owns the Treasure Island casino and is a partner in Trump's Las Vegas hotel. "I still believe there's a hidden vote for Donald."

Ruffin praised Trump as a tireless leader — even as he expressed some concerns about the pace the GOP candidate has kept up in the campaign. "He would be that kind of president, he works all the time." Ruffin supports Trump's desire to change trade agreements and tighten border security.

"When he says he can bring back jobs," Ruffin said, "you're talking about if he lowers the tax to 15 percent on corporations, they won't leave. They leave at 35 percent and go to these other countries."

The lone professed Democrat in the group is Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, who has railed against the Obama administration's policies for eight years.

Wynn has said in the past that he is still waiting for "the adult to show up" in the presidential campaign, and last August he told CNBC he has known Trump for 30 years, admitting they have talked during the campaign. "Donald will often call me and ask me what I think," Wynn said. "I will tell him, but Donald Trump is his own advisor."

Who will Wynn vote for? He didn't say in August, and he still won't say now. Among all the Vegas heavy hitters, Wynn remains the only one playing his political cards close to the vest.