Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire mogul, Republican mega-donor and power broker who built a casino empire spanning from Las Vegas to China and became a singular force in domestic and international politics, has died at 87 after a long illness.
He was the son of Jewish immigrants, raised with two siblings in a Boston tenement, who over the second half of his life became one of the world’s richest men.
The chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. brought singing gondoliers to the Vegas Strip and foresaw correctly that Asia would be an even bigger market.
In 2020, Forbes ranked him No. 19 in the United States, worth an estimated $29.8 billion.
“If you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow,” he said during a 2014 talk to the gambling industry in Las Vegas.
In 2012, Politico called him “the dominant pioneer of the super PAC era.”
Adelson regularly hosted the party’s top strategists and most ambitious candidates at his modest office, wedged among the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Throughout, he helped ensure that uncritical support of Israel became a pillar of the Republican platform, never more visibly than when the Trump administration relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.
Late in 2015, Adelson secretly purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal — the paper’s own reporters revealed he was the new owner — and soon raised concerns he was imposing his own views.
Some longtime staffers left the newspaper in protest.