According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, Adelson died at his home in Malibu, California, only four days after taking medical leave so as to continue his fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Massachusetts-born casino magnate had purportedly been battling the blood cancer since 2019 and is survived by his wife, Miriam, along with six children and eleven grandchildren.
Born in the Dorchester neighbourhood of Boston in August of 1933, Adelson reportedly showed an early flair for business after borrowing $200 from an uncle when he was just twelve so as to obtain a local license to sell newspapers on the street. He then purportedly borrowed $10,000 four years later in order to start a vending machine business before leaving to attend the City College of New York.
Although he did not graduate and subsequently joined the army to serve in the Korean War, Adelson reportedly returned to business in the 1960s by establishing a toiletries firm. He later purportedly moved on to found a company known as De-Ice-It, which sold a chemical spray to clear ice from automobile windscreens, before becoming involved in a wide range of ventures covering real estate, mortgage brokering and financial services.
The newspaper reported that Adelson furthermore invested in a number of companies during this period including one that published magazines on computers. Seeing an opportunity, he subsequently partnered with fellow businessmen Robert Lively and Richard Katzeff to launch the Computer Dealers Exhibition (COMDEX) trade show with this event’s inaugural outing at the original MGM Grand in 1979 purportedly attracting 167 exhibitors and 3,904 attendees.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that COMDEX soon grew to become the largest convention in Las Vegas with more than 200,000 annual attendees. The ever-restless Adelson purportedly used some of the proceeds from his success to establish Las Vegas Sands Corporation in 1988 before purchasing the former Sands Hotel and Casino for $110 million and constructing the nearby Sands Expo and Convention Center.
The newspaper reported that Adelson went on to offload his stake in Comdex to a Japanese conglomerate in 1995 for a rumored $500 million in advance of using some of this cash to build The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. His budding casino enterprise then added the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in 2009 but not before it had expanded into the embryonic Macau market with the debut of the Sands Macao in 2004, The Venetian Macao in 2007 and The Plaza Macao in 2008.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Las Vegas Sands Corporation subsequently entered Singapore via the debut of its iconic Marina Bay Sands development in advance of bolstering its Macau presence via the 2012 debut of its Sands Cotai Central property followed by the 2016 launch of The Parisian Macao facility. The Las Vegas-headquartered firm is furthermore purportedly hoping to have finished the $2.2 billion transformation of this middle venue into the new-look The Londoner Macao by the end of this year before starting work on bringing a fourth all-suite hotel tower to its Marina Bay Sands enterprise.
Previously a member of the Democratic political party, Adelson reportedly switched sides to join the Republicans in the mid-1990s and went on to support a slew of well-known conservative candidates including George W Bush, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. He purportedly had a personal fortune of around $35 billion and also ranked as the top individual political donor in the United States throughout the 2018 and 2020 election cycles with aggregate contributions of almost $350 million.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by Adelson’s family, reported that the casino entrepreneur additionally parlayed some of his personal fortune into helping Benjamin Netanyahu to secure a fourth term as Israel’s prime minister in 2015. The businessman furthermore purportedly donated generously to a range of charities including $25 million to the Yad Vashem shrine in Israel alongside campaigns to defeat the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana.
All of these were reportedly topped off by his formation of the Dr Miriam and Sheldon G Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which funds research into treatments for cancer and neurological disorders, the Adelson Family Foundation to ‘strengthen the State of Israel and the Jewish people’ and the Dr Miriam and Sheldon G Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research in Las Vegas.
Reportedly read a statement from Miriam Adelson…
“It is with unbearable pain that I announce the death of my husband, Sheldon Adelson, of complications from a long illness. To me as to his children, grandchildren and his legions of friends and admirers, employees and colleagues, he is utterly irreplaceable.”