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Tycoon Owes it All to Gambling

12 January 2005

ISRAEL – As reported by the Haaretz: "Gambling isn't exactly the foundation of a traditional Jewish lifestyle, but the world's richest Jew owes his tremendous fortune to casinos. Sheldon Adelson, 71, is worth an estimated $15 billion, most of it invested in shares in Las Vegas Sands, after the company's red hot December initial public offering. Las Vegas Sands owns and operates a number of hotels, casinos and exposition halls in Las Vegas and on China's Macau Island.

"Adelson, an observant Jew and a major contributor to the Las Vegas Jewish Federation and Habad, is the chairman of LVS and its major shareholder. The company raised $690 million in the IPO, issuing shares at $29 that skyrocketed to $46.5 on their first day on the NYSE floor.

"…The jewel in the crown of Adelson's U.S. holdings is the Venetian Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Adelson built it for $1.5 billion on the site of the legendary Sands Hotel, where Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies hung out in the fifties. Adelson bought the hotel, a white elephant, in 1989, and destroyed it to make room for a more profitable property.

"…In addition to his Vegas properties, Adelson has a trump card on the other side of the world - casinos on China's Macao Island.

"…The demand for gambling among China's 1.3 billion people is considered a huge source of profits, and since China has granted just three casino licenses on Macao, Sands' license is worth its weight in gold. The $1.8 billion Macao facility opened in May 2004 and is posting high profits.

"…He was also involved in efforts to establish a casino in Eilat."

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