Billionaire Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson Dies At 87

The billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has died at the age of 87-years-old. His wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, broke the news via The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which her late husband owned.

“It is with unbearable pain that I announce the death of my husbands, Sheldon G. Adelson, of complications from a long illness. Sheldon was the love of my life. He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism, and enterprise. He was my soul mate.”

Adelson is survived by six children, 11 grandchildren, and his wife.

Life Before Becoming a Casino Mogul

Adelson was born in Boston in 1933 to immigrant parents who didn’t have much disposable money. Business was in Adelson’s blood and he started the first of many businesses by the age of 12-years. An uncle loaned him the money to purchase a license to sell newspapers on the streets of Boston.

Another loan three years later was used to start a candy vending machine business. Adelson started a business selling toiletry kits after the army discharged him. He even started a company named De-Ice-It that marketed chemical sprays that cleared ice from windshields.

It wasn’t until 1988, when Adelson was 55-years-old, that he started on the patch to becoming a casino mogul.

Casino Mogul’s Empire Building Begins

Gambling came calling in 1988 when Adelson purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The casino cost him US$110 million. Adelson had big plans for his new property and it didn’t revolve around gambling.

Earlier in Adelson’s career, he made a small fortune from conventions so it was only natural to build a convention centre in Vegas. He did exactly that in 1989, the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Adelson once revealed fellow casino owners mocked him for building the centre. The casino mogul had the last laugh, however, as almost every Vegas casino has such a venue.

Adelson razed the Sands to the ground and built what is now The Venetian, Las Vegas. He gained the idea of a Venice-themed mega-resort while on honeymoon in Venice, Italy. It was an expensive idea because The Venetian cost US$1.5 billion to build.

The gambling and hotel resort bug bit the casino mogul hard; he was hooked. His Las Vegas Sands Corp company opened resorts in Singapore and Macau. They are all profitable as is evident by Adelson’s US$34 billion net worth at the time of his death.

Committed To Growing His Businesses

People either loved or loathed Adelson with not much in-between. This is often the case when it comes to strong-willed characters who dare speak their minds. There is no doubting Adelson’s commitment to being successful, regardless of your personal feelings about the casino mogul.

Doctors diagnosed Adelson with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018. This treatable form of blood cancer didn’t stop Adelson from being at the helm of Las Vegas Sands Corp. He didn’t travel into the office much while undergoing treatment but was always contactable.

Adelson was busy doing business dealings as recently as Christmas. Reporters spotted his superyacht parked next to Crown ResortsJames Packer’s equally impressive boat. Rumours circulated quickly that Adelson was trying to buy Packer’s stake in Crown. That deal, if it indeed existed, looks like it will never happen.

The casino mogul died less than a week after taking a leave of absence. Adelson put his long-term number two, Robert Goldstein, in temporary charge of Las Vegas Sands Corp while he underwent more cancer treatment.

That treatment is a mixture of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both of which are debilitating in younger cancer sufferers, never mind an already ill man approaching his 90th year. It appears Adelson’s treatment was too much for him to take and he passed away. He died at his Malibu, California home with his burial taking place in Jerusalem, Israel four days later.