Sheldon Adelson: The Journey of a Cab Driver’s Son from $200 to $28 Billion

"Jersey Boys" Opens At The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino

Sheldon Adelson, an American billionaire, was born in Dorchester on 6th August 1933, to a traditionally democratic Jewish family. He was the son of a cab driver whose family migrated to the United States from Lithuania. At the age of 12, he borrowed $200 from his uncle and started selling Newspaper at a local street corner. In coming years, he worked in variety of fields and worked as a financial consultant, mortgage broker, and investment adviser. In 1960, he started travel and tourism business along with two of his friends. He went on to City College in New York but soon dropped out to become a court reporter.

Sheldon Adelson became famous as a property developer in Las Vegas. He created Convention Center, the Venetian Casino Resort and the Sands Expo and founded two reputed newspapers Israel HaYom and Maariv in Israel. Later he accompanied his ideas of real estates in Macao and Singapore. He also founded COMDEX Computer Dealers Expo, an exhibition, in mid 1979. After years of successful running he sold it for $ 862 million to Japan’s Softbank in 1995.

Many a time his ideas flopped yet Sheldon never believed in giving up and continued his voyage. ‘I look at every business and ask, How long can this last? How can I identify the status quo and change it?’ Sheldon Adelson

According to Forbes 2011, Sheldon’s net worth is $23.3 billion and is the world’s 16th richest man.

Award and recognition: “Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion” for his lasting and historic contribution to Zionism and the Jewish people.

He was awarded at a gala dinner by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in 2009.

He was honored with Chairman’s award by Nevada Policy Research Institute for his contribution in progressing free market principles in Nevada

He, along with his wife, received ‘Woodrow Wilson Award’ given by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution

Philanthropic work:

Sheldon Adelson is one of the prominent political donors. Till 2007, he has donated over $1 Million to political candidates.

In 2005, Adelson, with his wife, contributed $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush
In 2006 Adelson donated $25 million to the Birthright Israel, a financer of Jewish youth trips to Israel. The same year, Adelson donated $25 million to the Heroes’ Remembrance Authority and Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’.

In 2007, he pledged over $25 million to the Taglit-Birthright Israel program

In 2009, he has given more than $25 million to the M.I.S. Hebrew Academy in Las Vegas to establish a high school. He has also funded Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical research foundations.


For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.

I look at every business and ask, How long can this last? How can I identify the status quo and change it?

I was sitting with the Prime Minister, and he was making reference to the Mice market. I said: ‘Is that the little things that go across the closet and squeak?

I see this as my humanitarian legacy. We’re prepared to pay billions.

Why do I need succession planning? I’m very alert, I’m very vibrant. I have no intention to retire.