Meet the billionaire behind iconic casinos like The Venetian and Marina Bay Sands, who’s worth $37 billion, lives in a Vegas mansion, and has donated more than $25 million to Trump

Gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp's Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson speaks during an interview with Reuters in Macau, China, December 18, 2015.

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Gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson speaks during an interview with Reuters in Macau, China, December 18, 2015.
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REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

You may not have heard of Sheldon Adelson, but you’ve probably heard of some of his world-famous properties: the Venetian and the Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas, or perhaps the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore made famous by “Crazy Rich Asians.

Adelson is the billionaire chairman and majority shareholder of the world’s largest casino operator, Las Vegas Sands. His company operates the Venetian in Las Vegas and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, among others.

Read more: I stayed in the $6.6 billion mega-hotel in the heart of Singapore, and it wasn’t anything like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

He’s also given millions of dollars in political contributions to high-profile Republican politicians. Adelson gave at least $17 million in political contributions to Newt Gingrich during his 2012 presidential campaign, according to The New York Times. And Adelson has made at least $25 million in political contributions to Trump, earning him the nickname “Trump’s Patron-in-Chief.”

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, reportedly live in a Las Vegas megamansion, own a 300-foot superyacht, and travel in a 380-passenger private jet.

Here’s a look at the Las Vegas billionaire’s life, career, and wealth.


Sheldon Adelson is the 85-year-old billionaire behind the world’s largest casino operator, Las Vegas Sands.

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Michael Kovac/WireImage

Las Vegas Sands operates properties worldwide including the Venetian Las Vegas, the Palazzo Las Vegas, the Sands Expo & Convention Center, the Sands Macao, the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the Sands Bethlehem, and more.


Adelson was the son of a cab driver in Boston.

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Photo by K. Y. Cheng/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

His first jobs included selling newspapers on street corners, selling ads in trade magazines, and serving as a court reporter.


Adelson first started making big money in trade shows. He launched COMDEX, a technology trade show in Las Vegas, with partners in 1979.

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People line up for taxis at COMDEX in 1995.
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Reuters

The trade show became one of the most attended in the world, and in 1995, Adelson and his partners sold it along with other smaller shows to SoftBank for $862 million.


Adelson didn’t get into the casino business until he was 55 years old. In 1989, he bought the Sands Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas for $128 million.

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The Sands Hotel and Casino in 1995.
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Santi Visalli/Getty Images

He demolished the hotel in November 1966.


It took two years and cost $1.5 billion to build The Venetian.

To imitate Venice, Italy, Adelson ordered detailed renderings of the Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, and Campanile tower.

He also enlisted the help of a historian from Venice who worked with the hotel’s architects and interior designers.


The Venetian opened in April 1999. It just celebrated 20 years on the Las Vegas strip.

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Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images)

“The Venetian’s success in Las Vegas, and particularly our convention-based business strategy, would end up being the basis for our company receiving coveted licenses in Macao and Singapore,” Adelson said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper he owns.


In 2004, Adelson opened the Sands Macau, which cost at least $265 million to build.

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REUTERS/Bobby Yip BY/CP

It opened in 2004 as Asia’s first “American-style” casino and went on to become “extraordinarily successful,” according to Forbes.


Adelson is also in the media business.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2015, he bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million.

The newspaper was among a handful of publications that endorsed Trump in the 2016 election.


Adelson is married to doctor Miriam Adelson.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Phantom

Both were divorced when they met in the late 1980s.

It was reportedly Miriam’s idea to make The Venetian in Las Vegas Venice-themed after the couple vacationed in the Italian city for their honeymoon.


The Adelsons live in a megamansion in Summerlin, an affluent Las Vegas planned community.

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Google Maps

The multimillion-dollar home on Trophy Hills Drive appears to include a swimming pool and tennis courts.


In addition to the Las Vegas mansion, Adelson reportedly owns $52 million worth of property in Malibu, California.

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Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images

The billionaire has reportedly spent about $52 million on several properties in the Colony, an exclusive gated community in Malibu, which is beloved by Hollywood celebrities.


Adelson also owns a 300-foot superyacht that he named “Queen Miri” after his wife, Miriam.

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Adelson’s yacht, then called Delma, arriving in Cannes in 2008.
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Flickr/Creative Commons/twiga269

The yacht was originally called Annaliesse when it was built in 2004 and then later renamed Delma.

After Adelson bought the yacht in 2015, he had it remodeled and extended in length by more than 21 feet, according to Beam Yachts. One yachting website puts Queen Miri’s value at about $70 million.


The Las Vegas billionaire travels by private jet.

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Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images

Adelson reportedly owns an Airbus A345, which he once used to set a record for the longest flight ever to depart from Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport. According to Haaretz, he made a 17-hour and 40-minute flight from Israel to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2017.


Adelson is a major donor to Republic politicians.

Adelson gave at least $17 million in political contributions to Gingrich during his 2012 presidential campaign, according to The New York Times.


Adelson has made at least $25 million in political contributions to Trump, earning him the nickname “Trump’s Patron-in-Chief.”

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Miriam and Sheldon Adelson greet Donald Trump at his inauguration.
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Adelsons wrote checks amounting to $20 million during Trump’s campaign and donated an extra $5 million for the inauguration festivities, according to ProPublica.

“I would put Adelson at the very top of the list of both access and influence in the Trump administration,” Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen told ProPublica in 2018. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’ve been studying money in politics for 40 years.”


Adelson is also a major donor to Jewish organizations.

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Adelson at a gala benefiting Holocaust educational programming in schools in 2014.
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Michael Kovac/WireImage

He’s given $410 million to the Birthright program that provides funding for trips to Israel for young Jewish adults, according to Forbes.


In March 2019, it was reported that Adelson was being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ron Reese, a spokesman for Adelson’s company, told Fortune that Adelson was experiencing side effects from his medication.

“These side effects have restricted his availability to travel or keep regular office hours,” Reese told the magazine in a statement. “They have not, however, prevented him from fulfilling his duties as chairman and CEO.”


In April, the casino mogul made $2.2 billion in one week thanks to his property in Macau.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Sands’ share price rose 8.8% on one week thanks to significant gambling revenue in Macau, according to Forbes.