Sands Corp Ceo Sheldon Adelson Dies at 87

sheldon adelson
An American billionaire casino mogul has died after a long illness.

Las Vegas Sands Corp chief executive Sheldon Adelson died on Tuesday, aged 87, from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

At one point, Adelson was the third richest man in the world and revolutionised gambling on the Las Vegas Strip and Asia.

The son of Jewish immigrants, raised with two siblings in a Boston tenement, who over the second half of his life became one of the world’s richest men.

In 2018, Forbes ranked him number 15 in the United States for net worth, with an estimated US$35.5 billion.

“If you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow,” he said during a 2014 talk to the gambling industry in Las Vegas.

Blunt yet secretive, the squatly-build Adelson resembled an old fashioned political boss and stood apart from most American Jews, who for decades have supported Democrats politics by wide margins.

Adelson was considered the nation’s most influential Republican Party donor over the final years of his life, at times setting records for individual contributions during a given election cycle.

When asked at a gambling conference what he hoped his legacy would be, Adelson said it wasn’t his glitzy casinos or hotels, it was his impact in Israel.

Israeli relations part of Adelson’s legacy

Yad Vashem museum exhibit
He donated $25 million to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and established a think tank in Jerusalem.

In the US, Adelson helped underwrite congressional trips to Israel, helped build a new headquarters for the lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and later was a top supporter of the Israel-American Council.

Adelson demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age, borrowing $200 from an uncle when he was 12 to buy a licence to sell newspapers in Boston.

Four years later, he borrowed money from an uncle again, this time the tidy sum of $10,000 to start a candy vending business.

He attended The City College of New York, but did not graduate.

He tried and failed to become a court reporter and served time in the army.

He then opened a business selling toiletry kits before starting another selling De-Ice_it, a chemical aerosol spray to remove ice from windshields.

All told, he ran about 50 companies at various times and made his fortune in the 1960s with a charter travel business.

The serial entrepreneur only entered the casino business in 1989, aged 55, when he and his partners bought the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $128 million.

Before his death, he owned more than half of the gaming empire, which did $14 billion in sales from its properties.

ProPublica reported in 2018 that Adelson’s business in Macau, where he outmanoeuvred fellow casino investor Donald Trump, accounts for half of Sands’ annual revenue.

He leaves behind six children from two marriages and 11 grandchildren.

Earlier this week, Cards Chat reported that Adelson took a leave of absence from the company.

A top opponent of online poker legalisation in the United States, the casino mogul fought long and hard to ban all forms of internet gambling at the federal level for years.

His efforts have been moderately successful although he hasn’t achieved his goal of completely banning online poker nationwide, his lengthy fight and lobbying efforts have made it difficult for legalisation to progress.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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