Forbes’ 400 Richest People in the US: Las Vegas Sands’ Empire Owner Made It to #19

Article by : Helen Sep 28, 2020

Despite the turbulent times for practically every economy globally, the richest of the rich remain that way. With the Forbes releasing its 2020 edition list of the 400 wealthiest people in the US list, we get to peek behind the curtain to see who made the list and how. According to Forbes’ estimates, these 400 people are worth $240 billion more than a year ago, in the pre-corona times, with a record total of $3.2 trillion.

What about casino moguls? Have they made this list? Well, we wouldn’t be bringing the list up if it wasn’t the case. The gambling industry’s name that ranked the highest among the wealthiest people in the US is Sheldon Adelson, with an estimated net worth of $29.8 billion (which went up to $32 billion after the list was published).

Sheldon Adelson was behind the foundation of Las Vegas Sands and currently owns a 53% share in the company. He is hardly a newcomer to the richest people lists: he was featured in Forbes’ Billionaires 2020, The Richest Person In Every State 2019, The Richest Person In America’s 50 Largest Cities 2016, and Powerful People 2016, to name a few. However, this financial year seems to be rather unpleasant for Adelson: his estimated net worth went down from $34.5 billion to $29.8 billion in just one year. The current estimate is lower than that of 2016 ($31.8 billion).

Las Vegas Sands is a casino empire that started in 1988 with just one property on the Las Vegas Strip: the Venetian, a Venice-themed casino resort. Now, it is a leading industry player: it generated $13.74 billion in revenues in 2019 (with the Venetian Macao accounting for $2.88 billion of total revenues).

Las Vegas Sands now operates casino resorts in 3 regions: Las Vegas (there, it owns the Venetian and Sands Expo), Singapore (represented by Marina Bay Sands), Macao (the company has an impressive portfolio there: The Venetian Macao, The Plaza and Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Sands Cotai Central, and The Parisian Macao on the Cotai Strip, as well as the Sands Macao on the Macao Peninsula).

Despite a successful 2019 financial year, things look a bit direr for Las Vegas Sands in 2020 – mostly, because of the closures caused by the coronavirus. The company reported a 97.1% year-on-year drop in its net revenue in 2Q2020. However, in its financial report, its management stated they are “optimistic about an eventual recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets, as well as our future growth prospects”, citing the “early stages of recovery now underway in each of our markets” as the key to the said growth prospects.

Of course, Adelson is not the only gambling industry player to make to Forbes’ 2020 400 Richest People in America list, but other honorable mentions are lagging far behind him.

Steve Wynn got ranked #278 with an estimated net worth of $3 billion. He is the co-founder of Wynn Resorts and the man behind some of Las Vegas’ most well-known casinos: The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and Wynn Las Vegas. In 2018, he had to step down from his post of the company’s CEO after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Another gambling industry name on the list is Jon Yarbrough, with his $2.6 billion estimated net worth – he got ranked #327. He is the founder of Video Gaming Technologies, the company that has been producing casino games since 1991. The company made it big, in part, thanks to the success of tribal casinos: Yarbrough said he has partnered with 35 tribes in 100-plus locations over the years.


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