ANALYSIS: Donald Trump’s best friend, billionaire casino mogul Phil Ruffin, sees a hidden jackpot in the pandemic Will Yakowicz, Forbes · May 1, 2020 at 1:52 am It’s a Friday afternoon in early April, and Las Vegas billionaire Phil Ruffin is bored and looking for some action. “I’m at my desk—no customers,” says the 85-year-old casino mogul, who runs an empire worth $3 billion, including Treasure Island and Circus Circus. “There’s no one on the streets and our phones are not ringing.” On any typical Friday before the coronavirus pandemic began, Ruffin’s schedule would be packed with strategy meetings and his desk would be a pile of daily operating reports. His phone would be ringing nonstop and he’d walk the floor of his casinos. Then he would usually call Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to see how business was going up the Strip at the Trump International Hotel, which he owns 50-50 with his closest friend, President Donald Trump. But since March 17, 2020, when Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close—including the state’s economic lifeblood, casinos—Ruffin finds himself in an unfamiliar position.