Sheldon Adelson: Son of taxi driver who became leading business tycoon of US

Adelson was born on 4th August 1933 to the Jewish couple Arthur Adelson and Sarah in Dorchester, a neighbourhood of Boston. He grew up under modest circumstances where his father worked as a taxi driver and mother used to run a knitting shop.

Sheldon Adelson was an American businessman, hotel-casino owner, political contributor, and publisher of several newspapers. He earned a massive fortune through his casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. His massive earnings enabled him to run several daily and weekly newspapers and he went on to become one of the largest political contributors in the US. He became the largest single donor in the 2012 US presidential elections.

With a fortune of US $33.5 billion, he was listed in Forbes list of the wealthiest businessmen in the year 2020. He was ranked as 28th richest person in the world and stood at 19th position in the list of 400.

Adelson was born on 4th August 1933 to the Jewish couple Arthur Adelson and Sarah in Dorchester, a neighbourhood of Boston. He grew up under modest circumstances where his father worked as a taxi driver and mother used to run a knitting shop.

The young kid stepped into business at the age of 12 and borrowed money from his uncle and purchased a license to sell newspapers in Boston. Later in 1948, he started a candy-vending-machine business.

He then attended college in New York City but did not graduate and later joined the army. After he was discharged from the army, he started a business of selling toiletry packages, then launched De-Ice-It, a company that sold a chemical spray that cleans ice off windshields. He founded a charter trip company in the 1960s. He quickly became a millionaire, despite having built and lost his money twice by his forties. Adelson founded around fifty enterprises during his professional career, making him a serial entrepreneur.

In the late 1970s, along with his several partners in Massachusetts Adelson formed an Interface Group. The Group then launched COMDEX, a computer industry trade show which turned out to be the largest computer trade shows in the world through much of the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1989, he bought the Sands hotel and casino in Las Vegas from Kirk Kerkorian and formed Las Vegas Sands Inc. to manage it. In 1990, he established the Sands Expo and Convention Center near the hotel, which is one of the largest privately owned convention centres in the United States. Later in 1995, Adelson and his partners sold the Interface Group along with COMDEX to the Softbank group of Japan.

Then in 1996, he demolished the Sands and replaced it with a hotel complex, Las Vegas Venetian, which was a theme based hotel-casino like many others in the city. The complex soon turned into the world's largest complex and this gave immense recognition and fame to Adelson. He gained more prominence after he purchased the city's largest newspaper, Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015.

Adelson began cultivating political parties in the early 1990s, and over time he emerged as a "mega-donor" to the Republican Party. He reportedly provided approximately $100 million in traceable donations during the 2012 elections, taking advantage of Supreme Court decisions that virtually abolished limits on political payments. In 2016, he allegedly gave more than $50 million to charity. That year, Republican Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and Adelson remained a strong supporter, even though Trump failed in his attempt for a second term in 2020.

Adelson, a passionate admirer of Israel, became involved in the country's internal affairs after marrying Miriam Ochshorn, an Israeli lady, in 1991. Benjamin Netanyahu, the two-time Prime Minister, was the biggest benefactor of his generosity. Adelson launched Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”), a free daily, in 2007 at tremendous expenditure. Israel Hayom became the most widely distributed newspaper in the country by consistently supporting Netanyahu and his conservative policies.

In 2019, Adelson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and due to complications and severeness of the disease, he passed away on 11th January 2021.