A polarizing Las Vegas casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, has died at 87 of complications related to his treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Sheldon Adelson was CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., owners of Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as a number of casino resorts we care much less about in Asia somewhere.
Adelson was a complex individual, frequently backing the wrong horses politically to the tune of billions of dollars, but his impact on Las Vegas is undeniable.
Fans will remember Adelson for his generosity. For example, when Las Vegas casinos were shut down due to the COVID crisis, Las Vegas Sands voluntarily paid full wages and health benefits to more than 10,000 employees, long after there was any obligation to do so.
With a net worth in the $35 billion range, Adelson was remarkably philanthropic. He was known for donating generously to Jewish causes and medical research.
Adelson had his share of critics as well.
Many are quick to point out Adelson’s years of union-busting efforts on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as his (initially secret) buying and gutting of the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a means to further his political and business interests.
He also once suggested the U.S. should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran, so there’s that. That statement got Las Vegas Sands hacked, crippling the company’s operations. It’s estimated the episode cost $40 million to rectify.
It was recently reported Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center would be sold, as Adelson shifted his focus to Asia.
Las Vegas accounted for just 13% of Las Vegas Sands Corp. revenue in 2019.
Word of the sale was taken as a lack of confidence in the quick return of convention business to Las Vegas. Now, it’s evident the move to sell off Las Vegas Sands assets in Las Vegas was more akin to estate planning, part of a succession plan.
As we’ve exclusively shared, it’s rumored Hard Rock International (the Seminole tribe) is the the front-runner in purchasing Venetian and Palazzo. If the rumors pan out, the deal would be in partnership with Blackstone’s REIT (real estate investment trust). We’re guessing the deal won’t be derailed by the passing of Sheldon Adelson.
Venetian and Palazzo rank among the most beautiful and successful casino resorts in Las Vegas.
Whether you loved or hated Sheldon Adelson (based upon the reaction to his death, there seems little middle ground), there’s no question his influence on Las Vegas is indelible.
The fact Sheldon Adelson was simultaneously adored and reviled made him all the more fascinating.
His legacy is assured as he joins an eclectic list of colorful characters who helped make Las Vegas what it is—visionaries who did what many considered impossible, creating beautiful things the world gets to enjoy.