What was Sheldon Adelson's net worth? Casino mogul dies at 87 leaving behind controversial fortune
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and Republican party megadonor, died on Monday at age 87. The American tycoon boasted a net worth of a staggering $30 billion at the time of his death. Adelson's massive fortune is mostly a reflection of his role as CEO of casino giant Las Vegas Sands, and while his name is synonymous with the gambling industry, he entered the business only at the age of 55. Prior to this, he created a considerable amount of wealth from COMDEX, a computer trade show he co-founded.
Sheldon was also well known for his involvement with a number of Jewish and Israeli charities, and owned several Israeli and American newspapers. He was notably a strong ally of President Donald Trump and had donated millions of dollars to his inaugural committee. Currently, Sheldon is ranked as the 28th richest person in the world. It's worth noting that the serial entrepreneur had started over 50 businesses in his lifetime.
Sheldon Gary Adelson was born to a Jewish family on August 4, 1933 in Boston, Massachusetts. Raised in a low-income household, Sheldon started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 12. He first borrowed $200 from his uncle to start a newspaper business. He borrowed another $10,000 to start a vending machine business at age 16.
Adelson dropped out of college and joined the army. After returning to his family, he started several other businesses and eventually became a millionaire in the 60s. During this period, however, he did lose his entire fortune twice but was somehow able to make it all back again.
Adelson's started the computer trade show COMDEX with a number of partners, and it went on to become one of the biggest computer trade shows in the world. He eventually sold the business to SoftBank Corporation for $862 million and personally took home a sum of over $500 million.
Adelson and his partners subsequently purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Sheldon would go on to create a number of convention centers, casinos, and other building projects across the globe in the next few years, including Macau, China, Singapore, and Cotai. As of 2020, Adelson controlled about 54 percent of the world's largest casino operator – Las Vegas Sands -- which generated $11.4 billion in revenue during 2016.
Adelson's wife exercised a warrant in 2012 to purchase 87.5 million common shares at a total cost of $525 million. He sold about $3 billion worth of his stock in 2005 and 2006, and gave his wife a cash gift of $1 billion the following year. Adelson later razed the legendary Sands hotel in Las Vegas and spent $1.5-billion to construct The Venetian, a lavish all-suite Venice themed resort hotel and casino to replace it. According to Celebrity Networth, one can argue that the Venetian revolutionized the Las Vegas hotel industry.
Adelson's wealth was heavily impacted by the global recession of 2008. Shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp went into freefall as economic conditions worsened. He lost a total of $4 billion in the first year, and had already lost a whopping $28 billion dollars by 2009, leaving him with a net worth of just $2 billion. Nonetheless, Adelson was able to steer his luck around relatively quickly -- increased his net worth to over $23 billion by 2011 and thereby becoming the 16th-richest man in the world.