Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson Passes Away at 87

Published on January 12, 2021

Sheldon Adelson has passed away at the age of 87 years old. Adelson was most famous for building the biggest casino company in the world, as well as supporting Republican groups and candidates, such as Donald J. Trump. The businessman behind Las Vegas Sands Corp. passed away from complications related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Adelson’s reported net worth was $33.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he first made his fortune in trade shows. Those shows eventually led to the computer industry’s biggest event of the year, Comdex, which was eventually sold to Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. for $800 million. The sale was 25 years ago. After the sale, Adelson went into the casino business. Adelson got started in Las Vegas, but then expanded business to Asia. He helped turn Macau into the largest gambling market in the world. 

The founder of the Las Vegas Sands, in which he held a majority stake, is where most of his wealth came from. In 2019, the company made over $13.7 billion. Adelson also expanded business to Singapore. In 1989, that’s when Anderson first got involved in the casino business with the once famous Sands Hotel and Casino. As all Rat Pack fans know, the Sands is where the crew would hangout. 

The Sands Hotel and Casino was once a hallmark of Las Vegas, but Adelson demolished the hotel, and the billionaire eventually turned the property into the Venitian Hotel, inspired by a honeymoon he took with his second wife, Miriam Adelson. “Sheldon was the love of my life,” Miriam Adelson said of his passing. “He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism and enterprise. He was my soulmate. To me — as to his children, grandchildren, and his legions of friends and admirers, employees and colleagues — he is utterly irreplaceable.”

Adelson broke new ground in China. He built the country’s first large-scale casino, Sans Macao, in China. After five years of work, it opened its doors in 2004 and was profitable within a matter of months. Eventually, Adelson built five casinos in China. 

Outside of casinos, Adelson was politically active. He was famously conservative. In 2008 alone, he donated $30 million to candidates. In 2012, he spent $100 million to support campaigns, including Mitt Romney. Then in 2016, he wasn’t as involved in the Republican primaries, but he ultimately supported Donald J. Trump. The casino billionaire spent $20 million on supporting Trump’s campaign. 

Adelson was famous in the political world. He was once a Democrat and stated he was liberal on social issues. It was only later in his life he became a Republican due to disagreements over foreign policy, cost of welfare programs, and corporate tax policies, in his own words. Outside of politics, Adelson donated hundreds of millions to medical research. 

Adelson passed away as a billionaire, but he began his life selling newspapers in the streets of Boston. Eventually, he dropped out of school and was a court reporter for the Army. Then he went from selling candy vending machines to eventually what became his legacy in business, casinos.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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