Sheldon Adelson, enemy of the free press — and online poker — dies at 87


Sheldon Adelson, shown above with wife, Miriam, died Monday at 87.
Image: Getty Images

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands casino group, and the largest individual donor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, died on Monday night, according to a statement released by Las Vegas Sands.

Adelson, 87, died due to complications from treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, according to Las Vegas Sands.

Adelson rode the success of his casinos, most notably the iconic Venetian Las Vegas and the enormous Venetian Macao, to incredible wealth. Forbes lists him as the 19th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $35 billion.

Fearing damage to his brick-and-mortar casinos, Adelson was a longtime opponent of online gambling, particularly online poker, drawing the ire of many in the poker community.

A longtime Republican donor, Adelson spent a fortune trying to defeat Democrats at the ballot box. According to the New York Times:


He was a major supporter of President George W. Bush in 2004, and gave $92.7 million to campaigns and super PACs supporting Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and others in 2012. He told Forbes he was willing to spend $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama.

But it was under Donald Trump that Adelson found his greatest influence. Adelson bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015. The identity of the buyer was kept secret at first. After the newsroom learned the buyer was Adelson, a raft of resignations followed.

Adelson gave $25 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign. In 2020, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $75 million to an anti-Biden super PAC. A staunch Zionist, Adelson was also a supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party. Adelson was influential in moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.

The Review-Journal is one of the few papers in the country to endorse Trump twice. Two months ago, it advised Trump of the truth: he had lost the 2020 Election. 

Admirably, Adelson’s casino group made a commitment to paying casino employees during Sin City’s shutdown last summer due to COVID-19.

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