Tributes for Sheldon Adelson are pouring in. From casino executives to world leaders, the casino tycoon is being remembered fondly by his friends and allies.
Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands founder, chairman, and chief executive, was worth an estimated $35.1 billion when he died today at the age of 87. He was the Republican Party’s largest donor in each of the last three national election cycles. He helped put President Donald Trump in office, and supported his reelection campaign.
“Sheldon Adelson not only lived the American dream, he embodied it. A philanthropist whose generosity knew no bounds and helped shape countless worth causes — and a businessman who changed an immeasurable number of lives,” Trump said in a statement. The president added that the billionaire was a “good and great man.”
Adelson reportedly never bought into Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was rigged. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which Adelson’s family owns, published an editorial the week after the election urging the president to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.
Adelson’s wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, is expected to carry on her late husband’s financial backing of the GOP. She said the world knew of some of her husband’s philanthropic work, but not all.
“Sheldon was kind. He gave readily of his fortune to charitable causes that may literally be countless, as he expected no credit and often preferred anonymity,” she said. “When the COVID-19 crisis hit and hotels went dark, he insisted that our tens of thousands of Team Members continue getting their wages and medical insurance. Each of those people, and millions of other beneficiaries of Sheldon’s largesse, are his testimonials.”
Casino Execs React
Steve Wynn, once a rival of Adelson’s who later become close friends, said the billionaire’s vision for the Cotai Strip in China’s Macau was nothing short of genius.
Sheldon played it so good. Think about the guts and vision required to build Cotai. I don’t know how you play a better hand,” Wynn said. “He was my favorite competitor ever. Adelson will be hard to replace.”
Bill Hornbuckle, president and CEO of MGM Resorts, credited Adelson for helping to “shape the modern era of gaming and hospitality.” The MGM boss added that Adelson was a “philanthropic giant” who had an immeasurable impact on Las Vegas and the world.
Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said Adelson “undeniably shaped our industry.” Billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III, owners of Station Casinos, called Adelson “a legend in the gaming industry.”
Republicans, World Leaders Pay Tribute
Adelson’s fortunes benefited numerous Republicans in DC and state governments across the nation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) called the magnate “a remarkable American.”
Among the philanthropic causes closest to Adelson’s heart included pro-Jewish undertakings, drug abuse treatment, and cancer research. “From advancing medical research to championing the US-Israel relationship, Sheldon was a patriot,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The Republican Jewish Coalition called Adelson “the most consequential Jewish philanthropist in the history of the Jewish people.”
“[Sheldon] was a wonderful friend to us personally and an incredible champion of the Jewish people, the Jewish state, and the alliance between Israel and America,” said Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Former President George W. Bush said, “Sheldon battled his way out of a tough Boston neighborhood to build a successful enterprise that loyally employed tens of thousands and entertained millions.”
Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, one of few Democrats in office to publicly mourn Adelson’s passing, credited him for forever changing Las Vegas.
“He saw an opportunity, which many dismissed, and built the first convention center and resort complex on the Las Vegas Strip,” the governor said.
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