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Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and GOP donor, dies

by Tom Pfingsten
Posted 1/12/21, 01:28 pm

Sheldon Adelson built some of the world’s most lucrative resorts, amassed a vast fortune, and was a big GOP donor. He died on Monday night at age 87. His company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., on Tuesday said he experienced complications while receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Who was Adelson? The son of Jewish immigrants, he grew up in a one-room home outside of Boston. He invested his first $200 in a license to sell newspapers and continued to build his business portfolio. He founded the Las Vegas Sands in 1988 and set up daily newspapers in Jerusalem and Las Vegas, growing his net worth to $31 billion. Adelson left the Democratic Party in 2012, primarily because of the GOP’s friendlier stance toward Israel. In the 2012 campaign, he became the first person ever to spend $70 million to influence a presidential election on his way to a total of $93 million in disclosed giving. In 2016, he was the largest donor to President Donald Trump’s campaign. Although Adelson wasn’t a practicing Jew, he supported Jewish causes. He gave $160 million to Birthright Israel, which sends young Jewish adults on free, 10-day trips to the country. He is survived by his wife, Miriam, and five children.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Jamie Dean’s report on Trump’s business background, which includes a breakdown of some of Adelson’s involvement in Republican politics.


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Tom Pfingsten

Tom Pfingsten is a graduate of the WJI Mid-Career Course.

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