Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson dies at 87

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  • A brief overview of Adelson’s life & death

Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands CEO has died, aged 87 following cancer treatment for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. The casino CEO was a Boston-native, born in 1933 to humble beginnings, and growing to become arguably the biggest player in Las Vegas — and the world.

Adelson’s casino empire extended from the sands of Las Vegas to China, with the Las Vegas Sands company saying “His impact on the industry will be everlasting.”

Before he became a casino Tycoon, Adelson launched a computer trade show Comdex. He sold the convention for almost $900 million in 1995, likely planting the seed for what would be his eventual convention-centre & casino model.

Adelson purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in 1988, followed by the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which was the only privately-owned convention center in the United States. Following these successful ventures, Adelson opened the first mega resort & hotel, The Venetian, and eventually brought another Mega Resort to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (sold in 2019), and another in Singpore. Adelson was also responsible for bringing the first Las Vegas-style casino to the Macau region.

“While it’s sad to see his passing the company is in good hands with (president and chief operating officer) Rob Goldstein … it should be seamless from the company’s perspective,” says Charles Norton, Portfolio Manager as Penn Davis McFarland, about the future of Las Vegas Sands’ casinos & resorts.

In other major career moves, Adelson purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015, and has spent a considerable amount of his professional time campaigning against online gambling and marijuana legalization.

Adelson had a net worth of $35.8 billion, and was the 19th-richest person in the United States when he died — he formerly sat in about third place, but saw his wealth take a dip after gambling activity reduced drastically in Macau.

the venation casino and resort las vegas

The Venation, Las Vegas.

Sheldon Adelson: major political player

Adelson used a large portion of his fortune to become a major player in Republican politics, donating millions in favor of various legislation, and in support of different lobbying groups. He donated $250,000 along with his wife, Miriam Adelson to George W. Bush’s campaign during his second run for office. He was also a financial backer of Freedom’s Watch, which was a political advocacy group aimed at opposing democratic lobbying groups. He also donated $5 million to the super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund and more than $60,000 to the RNC.

He also donated $1 million to American Solutions for Winning the Future, a PAC in support of Newt Gingrich and his run for presidency; and went on to support both Gingrich and Mitt Romney in their bids for presidency. Later, Adelson supported Trump’s run for president, and donated around $113 million via various PAC’s to the Republican party. Adelson’s wife, Miriam Adelson, was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to substance abuse prevention and pro-Israel efforts—however, it’s worth noting she (along with her husband) were the largest financial contributors to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Sheldon Adelson was legendary to Las Vegas, the casino industry and a major political player — In the words of Adelson himself, “I formed an opinion that if I did things differently than the way everybody did it that it would add value to every effort I made.”

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