Sheldon Adelson Takes Leave Of Absence For Cancer Treatment

Sheldon Adelson is resuming cancer treatment and is taking a leave of absence from his duties as chairman and CEO

Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is taking a leave of absence to resume cancer treatment. The 87-year-old founder and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp hasn’t been in full health for a while.

Adelson has long suffered from peripheral neuropathy, a severe nerve disorder that causes numbness, pain, and weakness. The condition makes it difficult for Adelson to walk.

This isn’t the first time Adelson has undergone cancer treatment, but it’s the first time he’s taken time from working. Doctors diagnosed Adelson with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018, a type of blood cancer. Treatment Adelson received in 2018 knocked him for six, but he still ran his empire.

A spokesperson for Las Vegas Sands Corp issued a statement to The Wall Street Journal in 2018.

“Mr. Adelson is still dealing with certain side effects from medication he is taking for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These side effects have restricted his availability to travel or keep regular office hours. They have not, however, prevented him from fulfilling his duties as chairman and CEO.”

Traditional treatment for this cancer includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and stem-cell transplants. Nobody has revealed what treatment Adelson is receiving. Whatever it is, it is no surprise it is taking it out of an 87-year-old man.

Robert Goldstein has long been Adelson’s number two. Goldstein joined the company in 1995 and is now the president and Chief Operating Officer. He is now the acting chairman and CEO in Adelson’s absence.

Cancer Treatment Could Halt Potential Crown Resorts Deal

This latest batch of cancer treatment pours cold water on rumours Adelson met with James Packer over Christmas. Reporters saw Packer’s $200 million superyacht parked next to one named “Queen Miri” in the French Caribbean over the holidays. Queen Miri is registered to a certain Mr. Adelson, named such after Adleson’s wife. Onlookers saw tenders going back and forth between the two boats for a couple of days.

Rumours about Packer potentially selling his stake in Crown Resorts are circulating like bushfires. Everyone knows Packer wants out of the casino business, and Adelson wants to expand his empire.

Adelson is worth almost US$30 billion meaning money is no object. Packer can name his price and Adelson can afford it. Adelson can afford to purchase every Crown Resorts share several times over.

A deal, if one was on the cards, is unlikely now with Adelson resuming cancer treatment.

Adelson Plans On Leaving Las Vegas

Adelson has been a polo rising figure in Las Vegas for more than 30 years. He bought the Sands Hotel and Casino in 1998 and spent US$1.5 billion demolishing it and building The Venetian three years later.

Las Vegas Sands Corp has the Palazzo and Sands Expo Convention Center on its books. Adelson confirmed last year he is willing to listen to offers for his Las Vegas properties. An asking price of approximately US$6 billion is touted.

COVID-19 has hit Las Vegas casinos hard, very hard. Neither Adelson nor Goldstein believe matters will improve until conventions are allowed to resume. Sands lost almost US$1 billion in Q2 of 2020 and a further US$731 million in the third quarter. No wonder Adelson wants out.

Sands is currently lobbying to legalise casino gambling in the state of Texas. A bid for Packer’s shares probably won’t happen if Adelson can convince Texan officials to allow him to build a property there.

The argument put to Texan officials is it will create tens of thousands of jobs. Casino resorts generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for their state also.

Only a couple of small tribal casinos operate in Texas currently. It’s possible to gamble on a cruise ship, too. This latest cancer scare has put the brakes on this and any potential deals for the foreseeable future.