The Las Vegas casino mogul and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson died at the age of 87
American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who built lavish gambling palaces that made him one of the richest men in the world and who became a strong supporter of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has died at the age of 87.
Adelson, who ran the world’s largest casino company, Las Vegas Sands, died Monday night of complications from treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Las Vegas Sands said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore, Mr. Adelson’s vision for integrated resorts transformed the industry, changed the way the company he founded, and redefined tourism in each of those markets,” the company said. “His impact on the industry will last forever.”
Adelson, a combative, self-made man who grew up in a poor Jewish immigrant family in Boston, founded hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.
His wealth made him a formidable figure in US politics as he funded Republicans, including president-turned businessman Trump, and fought against Democrats. He was also a prominent supporter of Israel.
“He was an American patriot, a generous charitable benefactor and a strong supporter of Israel,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement.
Adelson and his Israel-born doctor Miriam donated more than $ 123 million to Republican and Conservative causes in the 2018 US mid-term congressional election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending – more than any other.
Dr. Miriam Adelson speaks to her husband during a speech given by US Vice President Mike Pence in Las Vegas in 2017. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
The Adelsons were successful supporters of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, spending $ 20 million on the campaign and then $ 5 million more on his inauguration. The casino magnate was in regular contact with Trump upon assuming office and saw some of his cherished goals regarding Israel come to fruition, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in a break with decades of American politics. Adelson attended the embassy inauguration ceremony in May 2018.
Rich in the example of the Venetian casino
A college dropout and the son of a taxi driver, Adelson was short and stocky, had thinning red hair, and in later years used a scooter because of an illness that made walking difficult. But its looks contradicted its clout and drive.
“I know that a lot of people think that people like me succeed when they step on the broken backs of employees and other people, but they don’t understand that we too have philosophies and ideals that we adhere to very carefully.” he said at an event in Las Vegas in 2008, according to New York magazine.
Adelson participates in a 2016 presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Hempstead, NY. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
His empire in the United States, Macau and Singapore was exemplified by the Venetian resort casino in Las Vegas, which featured replicas of landmarks from Venice, Italy, such as canals, the Rialto Bridge and the bell tower of St. Mark’s Church. He filled his gambling centers with trendy restaurants and shops, turning them into luxury destinations for business travelers and tourists alike.
In November 2018, Trump awarded Adelson’s wife the highest civilian honor in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a move that critics criticized as a “thank you” from the President for the couple’s financial support. During the White House ceremony, Trump greeted the Adelsons for protecting the “sacred inheritance of the Jewish faith”, placed the medal around their neck and kissed them on both cheeks.
Close friend of Netanyahu
Adelson also backed Republican President George W. Bush and then invested tens of millions of dollars in the failed 2008 and 2012 efforts to defeat Democratic President Barack Obama.
Known for his extensive philanthropic and business ventures in Israel and donations for Jewish causes, Adelson counted the conservative Netanyahu as a close friend. In 2007 he started the free newspaper Israel Hayom, which became the most widely read daily newspaper in Israel. Critics said it favored Netanyahu.
US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend an event at the White House last year as the Adelsons watch. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
Adelson wrote in his newspaper in 2012 that Netanyahu was not “my puppet”. He responded to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who accused Netanyahu of participating in a US election with the resistance to Obama “on behalf of an American billionaire [Adelson] with a clear interest in voting. “
Although initially unwilling to donate to Trump’s presidential bid, he became a Trump supporter despite other wealthy Republican donors staying away. Trump won his first major newspaper in the 2016 general election when he was endorsed by the Adelson-run Las Vegas Review Journal.
“I am against very wealthy people who try to try or influence elections. But as long as it is possible, I will,” Adelson told Forbes magazine in 2012.
Considered vengeful by critics
Critics described Adelson as vengeful and mean, who fought his own sons in court, grappled with former employees, and sued journalists.
“Over time, I watched Mr. Adelson Vendetten plotting against anyone he thought was in his way. Tiny as the perceived affront was, he was sure to get ballistic and his money and position used to harass any ‘opponent’, big or small. Shelley Berkley, who worked for Adelson before serving as the US Democratic Congressman from Nevada from 1999 to 2013, wrote in a 1998 newspaper in Las Vegas.
CLOCK | As of 2018: Adelson influences Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem:
Adelson was born in Boston in 1933. When he was 12, he started selling newspapers on street corners. At the age of 16, he ran a candy machine shop.
At the beginning of his business career, Adelson was involved in entrepreneurship before starting a computer show in Las Vegas in 1979, which became the largest in the world. He used his success as a stepping stone to buy the aging Las Vegas Sands Hotel and then built the largest private US convention center, and later the Venetian one.
Defended China’s rulers
Macau, a former Portuguese colony and Hong Kong neighbor known for gambling, returned to Chinese rule in 1999. Foreign casino companies got their shot after a Hong Kong businessman’s gambling monopoly in Macau ended. By 2004, Adelson opened its first casino, and Macau would later become the world’s top gaming center. The Las Vegas Sands IPO in December 2004 made him a multimillionaire.
When Adelson visited a casino project in Macau in 2007, he defended China’s communist rulers against critics of the Asian giant’s human rights record, including US lawmakers.
VIPs like Adelson cut the ribbon at the opening of Sands Casino in Macau in 2004. (Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images)
His domain also included Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, valued at $ 6 billion, which opened in 2010, and a casino in Bethlehem, Penn.
After his first marriage ended in 1991, Adelson married Miriam Ochshorn, a doctor who specialized in the treatment of drug addiction. One of Adelson’s sons from his previous marriage, Mitchell, died of a drug overdose in 2005 at the age of 48.