SHELDON ADELSON: THE RAGS TO RICHES LIFE STORY OF LAS VEGAS CASINO TYCOON, FROM NOTHING TO BUILDING THE BIGGEST CASINO EMPIRE IN THE WORLD

How Sheldon Adelson Came From Nothing To Build The Largest Casino Empire In The World

Rob Wile  BusinessInsider
 
When you’re the 15th-richest person in the world, people are always going to be after your Lucky Charms. So it is that Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson finds himself on the witness stand this week, defending his company from a former consultant who alleges he’s owed millions from Las Vegas Sands after persuading Chinese government officials to permit Adelson to expand his empire.

But of course, all of that only dates back to 2001 at the earliest. We wanted to take you back to the beginning, and explain how Adelson ended up at the top of the casino world.

We previously alluded to his rise when we ranked him No. 13 on our Horatio Alger Index of most impressive rags-to-riches stories in America

If you missed that, you’ll quickly agree that he’s come a long, long way.

Sheldon Adelson came from nothing.

He grew up in Boston during the Great Depression, the son of immigrants. His father was a taxi driver. Along with three other siblings, the family lived in a one-room tenement.

Source: Fortune, Guardian, New Yorker

His first big deal was reportedly buying out a newsstand at age 12.

He still maintains a lifelong interest in newspapers.

He enrolled at City College in the Bronx, but dropped out.

He preferred working, though couldn’t hold a steady job: mortgage banking, running a toiletry-packing business for hotels, and operating a charter travel company are just some of the gigs he held.

Source: New York Times

He didn’t hit it big until 1979, when at age 46 he started Comdex.

At its height, Comdex [aka Computer Dealers Exhibition] was the mother of all computer trade shows, eventually expanding to Atlanta and Chicago. It ended in 2003.  

Source: WindowsIT Pro

In 1988, Adelson bought the creaking Sands casino.

In 1988, Adelson bought the creaking Sands casino.

REUTERS/Steve Marcus

At $128 million, it was a relative bargain.

Source: OnlineNevada

Eight years later, he had it demolished.

He had bigger plans in mind.

In 1999, The Venetian opened where Sands formerly stood.

It’s now part of the largest integrated resort complex in the world. 

Source: Las Vegas Sun

It’s debut in 1999 yielded a couple great scenes…

It's debut in 1999 yielded a couple great scenes...

AP

Like this one with Cher.

And this one.

And this one.

REUTERS/Steve Marcus

He seems outmatched with Sophia Loren.

Four years later, Adelson was in Macau.

Four years later, Adelson was in Macau.

REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER

He was one of just two Americans to get a license from the Chinese. Archrival Steve Wynn was the other. 

Source: Bloomberg

It’s now the main profit center for Adelson’s company.

It's now the main profit center for Adelson's company.

AP

Last quarter, casino revenue dropped 25.7% in Vegas but was up 12.6% at the Venetian Macau and 41.6% at the Four Seasons Macau.

Source: Forbes

Sands went public with an IPO in December 2004.

Sands went public with an IPO in December 2004.

Yahoo

The recession took a huge bite out of the company’s shares, but they’ve largely bounced back. 

Source: NASDAQ

When you get such a late start in life, the hits also start coming later.

When you get such a late start in life, the hits also start coming later.

Divers at the Beijing Olympics

AP Images

In 2001, Adelson was forced to testify in a Congressional influence-peddling investigation regarding the Beijing Olympics.

Source: New Yorker

In 2004, Sands paid a $1 million penalty for allegedly rigging a contest to win a Mercedes-Benz.

“An unnamed executive from The Venetian hid a ticket for a gambler preselected to win in his shirt sleeve, then pretended to select a ticket before naming the predetermined player as the winner,” the Sun reported.

Source: Las Vegas Sun

In 2007, he founded his own free newspaper in Israel.

It’s called “Israel Hayom” [or Israel Today]. The New York Times says it’s widely viewed as pro-Netanyahu.

Source: New York Times

And as previously stated, he lost $36 billion in the wake of Lehman.

And as previously stated, he lost $36 billion in the wake of Lehman.

AP

That’s 11 digits.

Source: The Australian

But he shrugged off much of it and delved into politics. Deeply.

But he shrugged off much of it and delved into politics. Deeply.

AP

During the 2012 election, the GOP accepted $150 million from Adelson-related groups. At least $5 million went to Newt Gingrich.

It’s also easy to shrug when you’re the 15th richest person on the planet.

In between two Waltons. 

Source: Forbes

In 2010, he opened a $5.7 billion casino complex in Singapore.

In 2010, he opened a $5.7 billion casino complex in Singapore.

Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider

It includes this “Sky Park that sits atop a trio of 55-storey towers.” 

Source: The Australian

So he’s unlikely to be fazed by the latest trial.

So he's unlikely to be fazed by the latest trial.

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

He faces as much as $328 million in damages, but up against everything else, that sum is relatively paltry.

Source: Bloomberg

Though there’s a separate investigation into another Chinese consultant.

Though there's a separate investigation into another Chinese consultant.

AP

The New York Times’ Michael Luo reported last August that Yang Saixin “is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau.”

Source: New York Times

More Horatio Algers…

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/life-of-sheldon-adelson-2013-4?op=1#ixzz2XgqKAdqE

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s