Posts Tagged ‘Dr Miriam Adelson’

Sheldon Adelson death may move LVS online

January 13, 2021
LVS founder Sheldon Adelson brought Paris, Venice and London to Macau, the world’s most admired urban integrated resort to Singapore and conventions to Las Vegas.

The passing of Las Vegas Sands founder and megabillionaire Sheldon Adelson is expected to have little impact on the casino industry leader’s business. Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein will be the successor, at least for now.

A 25 year LVS veteran who successfully ran the company during Adelson’s 2019 cancer treatment and took the reins again last week when Adelson went on medical leave, Goldstein has the trust of Adelson’s widow, LVS controlling shareholder Dr Miriam Adelson, and of Wall Street. Sands CFO Patrick Dumont, married to Dr Adelson’s daughter, looms as a potential favorite son-in-law candidate for leadership, but the Israeli-born physician and her offspring are believed more focused on their native country’s politics than boardroom intrigue. Of course, new circumstances may change that and more.

Adelson spoke out forcefully against online gambling, citing the difficulties of policing it and highlighting its potential to undermine the billions invested in integrated resorts, as online shopping has done to department stores and shopping malls. Adelson’s passing increases the likelihood that LVS will join the casino industry’s march toward online play.

Staunch opposition to drug abuse – one of Adelson’s sons died of a drug overdose and Dr Adelson’s research centers on drug addiction – likely means that LVS will continue to hold out against marijuana use in casinos, regardless of any eventual industry consensus, as long as the Adelson family controls the company.

Adelson’s wealth made him one of the largest and most important political donors in the US and Israel. Adelson and I had our disagreements, but he did far more good than most of the politicians he bankrolled, a largely odious lineup that includes Benjamin Netanyahu, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, a contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Shot down by Chairman Sheldon

April 14, 2012

Covering the Sands Cotai Central opening on April 12 included attending the news conference with top executives of Sands China and its parent company Las Vegas Sands (LVS). That put me squarely in the sights of the billionaire chairman of both companies, Sheldon Adelson.

During the question and answer period, I introduced myself as Muhammad Cohen from Asia Times and Macau Business, then asked company executives whether they regretted their decision in the face of the 2008 credit crunch to continue building Marina Bay Sands in Singapore while mothballing Sands Cotai Central, initially slated to open in 2009. The Wall Street-led crisis drove LVS to the brink of bankruptcy, requiring a $2 billion lifeline from Adelson. Marina Bay Sands, which cost nearly $6 billion, has become the most profitable casino resort in the world in operating terms. With its delay, Sands Cotai Central has cost $4.4 billion, making it Macau’s most expensive resort to date.

LVS president and chief operating office Michael Leven explained that Marina Bay Sands was already fully financed before the crisis hit, while Sands Cotai Central was only partially funded, based on lenders preferences for the two projects. “I regret that we didn’t complete [Sands Cotai Central] two-and-a-half years ago, because Macau would now be further ahead,” Leven added. “We’re really happy to be able to open it today. This puts the exclamation point at the end of the sentence. It’s a game changer for MICE [meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions] in Macau.”

As I furiously scribbled what Leven had said, I heard Chairman Adelson say my name as he unloaded with both barrels.

“I’ve read what you’ve written, Muhammad, and it’s not true,” the 78 year old worth $24.9 billion said. “We didn’t take the money from Macau to Singapore. Not a single pataca, not a single penny went from here to Las Vegas, or from here to Singapore.”

There’s not much I could say in response to that kind of public shoot-down, particularly when it comes from the most powerful man in the global gaming industry, accompanied by his band of security guards. And especially since I never wrote what Adelson said I did.

The charge that LVS has used its Macau profits elsewhere has been raised. Macau Business made reference to that sentiment when it reported Adelson’s earlier “not one pataca” denial a couple of years ago, But I’ve certainly never written that LVS is taking money from Macau for projects elsewhere. The real issue, which neither Leven nor Adelson addressed, was the local political damage done. A lot of people remember that LVS continued work in Singapore while pausing in Cotai during Macau’s moment of crisis, the one time during the company’s Macau tenure when the city really needed the construction jobs and related commerce. Macau also presents a far more important long term opportunity than Singapore, where revenue growth has already shown signs of stagnation and government regulations restrict opportunities.

I spent the rest of Sands Cotai’s opening day basking my ill-gotten notoriety, refuting my culpability to all I met, from Sands China president and CEO Edward Tracy to analysts who suddenly recognized me. “At least he knows your name,” several consoled me.

Sipping champagne ahead of the black tie gala dinner (to which my invitation must have been lost), I managed to issue my denial to Dr Miriam Adelson, the chairman’s wife during the course of a delightful chat. I hope she passed the word to the next pillow.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.


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