"Rags-to-riches" billionaire who is now the undisputed "Casino King" of the world from Las Vegas, Macau to Singapore
Today at lunch in the Manila Peninsula Hotel, American businessman Bradley "Brad" Stone---President of Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM)---told me that his former boss Sheldon Adelson of the famous Sands and Venetian casinos is today the world's biggest casino tycoon. Brad Stone said his ex-boss is "fearless".
Like Bill Gates of Microsoft and the late Steve Jobs of Apple, Adelson is a college drop-out who nevertheless overcame difficulties to attain great success. His father was a humble taxi driver.
Adelson started out as a motgage broker, investment adviser and financial consultant, he was also into sales of toiletry kits and also went into charters tours business in the 1960s. He is an authentic self-made man.
In april 2012, Adelson told college students at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas City that the secret of his success was "never knowing anything" about the businesses in which he got involved. In a rare 90-minute talk, Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson also advised the college students that willingness to risk it all is key to any entrepreneur.
He also told the students: "This is the nature of entrepreneurship. It's the willingness to take a risk. It's a willingness to do things a little bit different."
What were the casino or gaming innovations of Sheldon Adelson to differentiate him from his competitors and many other industry predecessors? He told the students he is a game changer in the gaming industry by pioneering the development of integrated resorts with diverse entertainment options such as retail and fine dining restaurants. Adelson was also the pioneer casino operator to bring in and integrate the lucrative convention and meeting businesses.
Jeff Kimelman, an alumnus of UNLV's hotel school a year before, inquired in the rare forum how Adelson's Judaism religion has influenced his business career.
Sheldon Adelson recounted that his father, a cab driver named Arthur Adelson, used to set aside and save up spare change in order to donate to charity. He added that his dad followed the a Jewish tradition of seeking to help "repair the world."
However, since Adelson is now a billionaire and not a humble taxi driver like his late dad, the tycoon said: "I don't put change in a box, but it's not because I'm cheap. I give it back in bulk. Instead of 48 cents, I give $48 million."
As of September 2012, Sheldon Adelson's personal fortune or net worth is estimated to be US$20.5 billion.
(Below are photos of the fabulous and immensely successful Marina Bay Sands in Singapore)
(Images of the Venetian Macau)
A self-made entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Sheldon Adelson has a colorful and inspiring "rags-to-riches" business career. He is also a gutsy supporter of political causes in America and overseas.