Sheldon Adelson, a prominent American businessman, investor, philanthropist, and political donor, made a lasting impact on various facets of life, from the business world to the realm of politics. Born on August 4, 1933, and passing away on January 11, 2021, Adelson's journey from a humble background to becoming a billionaire and an influential political figure is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to his beliefs. As of September 2017, Forbes reported Adelson's fortune at US$35.7 billion. However, by September 2020, Forbes listed his net worth at US$29.8 billion.
Sheldon Adelson's journey began in the Dorchester neighbourhood of Boston, where he grew up as the son of Sarah and Arthur Adelson. His early experiences as a newspaper seller and the owner of a candy vending machine business reflected his entrepreneurial drive, which he carried with him throughout his life.
Despite facing some setbacks in his early educational and career pursuits, including military service and various business ventures, Adelson's resilience and determination ultimately led to his success. Over his career, he established nearly 50 businesses, earning him the reputation of a serial entrepreneur.
One of Adelson's most significant contributions to the business world was his involvement in the development of the COMDEX trade shows in the late 1970s. These trade shows became instrumental in shaping the computer industry during the 1980s and 1990s, highlighting Adelson's vision and ability to spot emerging trends.
In 1995, Adelson and his partners sold the Interface Group Show Division, including the COMDEX shows, to SoftBank Group of Japan for a staggering $862 million, with Adelson's share alone exceeding $500 million.
Adelson's most notable contributions came through his ventures in the gaming industry. In 1988, he acquired the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, a pivotal moment that marked his entry into the gaming business. This was followed by the construction of the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which became the only privately owned and operated convention centre in the United States at the time.
Adelson's crowning achievement in the gaming world was the development of The Venetian, a Venice-themed resort hotel and casino, which opened in 1999 after an investment of $1.5 billion. He continued to expand his gaming empire with ventures like the Bethlehem casino in Pennsylvania and the development of the Sands Macao, China's first Las Vegas-style casino.
Adelson's most iconic project was the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, a casino resort complex that opened in 2010 and became the most expensive building in the world. It featured luxury hotels, a rooftop infinity pool, exclusive shopping, and a convention centre, solidifying Adelson's status as a major player in the global gaming industry.
In 2007, Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam established the Adelson Foundation, a private charity focused on healthcare, Israel, and the Jewish people. Their philanthropic efforts have had a substantial impact on numerous causes and institutions.
Adelson's influence extended to the media as well. He owned several newspapers, including the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, the Israeli weekly Makor Rishon, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His media ventures played a significant role in shaping public discourse, both in Israel and the United States.
Sheldon Adelson was often referred to as a "kingmaker" in political circles due to his substantial financial contributions to Republican Party candidates and causes. His influence on American politics was particularly evident during his support for Donald Trump. Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, became the largest donors to Trump's 2016 campaign, his presidential inauguration, his defense fund during the Mueller investigation, and his 2020 campaign.
Adelson's political involvement extended to Israel as well, where he was a significant backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His contributions to conservative and pro-Israel causes solidified his position as a powerful figure in the political landscape.
Sheldon Adelson's remarkable journey from a modest upbringing to one of the wealthiest individuals in the world is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination. His contributions to various industries, philanthropy, and political causes left a lasting impact on the world.
While his influence was often a subject of controversy and debate, there is no denying that Sheldon Adelson's life and legacy are reflective of his unwavering commitment to his beliefs and relentless pursuit of success.