Seeing Sheldon

Seeing Sheldon

On Wednesday, October 1, Sheldon Adelson takes to the G2E stage.

Like Wynn, Sheldon Adelson sports a rags-to-riches story that starts with him selling newspapers on street corners in his native Boston.

And also like Wynn, Adelson had some help,

First from a rich uncle and later from friendly business connections similar to those that characterized Wynn’s ascent.

But Adelson took his time becoming a gaming mogul.

He started and sold many businesses on his way up, from windshield deicers to charter bus tours.

But when he started COMDEX in 1979, it quickly became the world’s largest trade show for the computer industry,

becoming the principal time the big computer companies made major product announcements.

When Adelson sold his trade-show company, which included COMDEX, he personally netted more than $500 million.

Seeing Sheldon But it was that experience that led him to the gaming business.

Recognizing that trade shows and conventions were cash cows in Las Vegas, he decided to build a massive convention center on the grounds of the Sands Hotel & Casino, which he bought with the proceeds from the COMDEX sale.

First, he built the Sands Expo Center, and followed it up by constructing the Venetian and the Palazzo.

Like Wynn, Adelson’s vision was always questioned by “experts.”

With the Las Vegas Convention Center as competition, Adelson’s contention that he could run a similarly sized facility and an even larger hotel was derided by critics.

Yet, today, the Venetian/Palazzo gets the vast majority of its revenue from non-gaming sources, proving that Adelson had it right.

The Sands Expo Center has expanded, and there are a few more convention

Centers in the city operated by other casino companies in excess of 500,000 square feet.

But nothing was so questioned as Adelson’s plan to build a “Las Vegas Strip” in Macau’s Cotai region, which was just marshland when he first saw it.

Adelson’s plan to build a massive complex that included up to a dozen hotels and casinos, along with a large convention center and an arena,

was thought to be outrageous

After building his first Macau casino—the Sands—in record time and after the revenue started flowing in—like a gushing fire hose—the Venetian, on the newly dubbed “Cotai Strip,” was begun.

Two years later, the first integrated resort in Asia was completed. Other companies quickly followed his lead, and Cotai is now the dominant player in the Macau gaming industry.

Seeing Sheldon But Adelson didn’t stop there.

He bid for and received one of two casino licenses in Singapore, and created what is today one of the most iconic buildings in the world—Marina Bay Sands.

While not quite the cash cow that is Macau, Singapore’s casino industry has brought the success the government sought: a large increase in tourism, with a minimum of negative social impact.

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