State, local leaders react to passing of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — State and local leaders are reacting to the death of Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire mogul and power broker known for building a casino empire spanning from Las Vegas to China.

Adelson went on medical leave last week to resume his fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He died Monday night from complications related to his treatment, according to a statement from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Adelson, the founder and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands corporation which owns the Venetian and Palazzo, was 87.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak shared his condolences in a statement early Tuesday morning, noting many of Adelson’s contributions to Las Vegas and the state.

“I was very saddened to hear of Sheldon Adelson’s passing. Sheldon was a man who believed in, succeeded in, and invested in bold and daring ideas that changed the State of Nevada.  

He came from very humble beginnings and rose to international prominence as an entrepreneur, a builder, and a philanthropist. He started as a customer, by building the preeminent computer convention in the world hosted by Las Vegas. He saw an opportunity, which many dismissed, and built the first convention center and resort complex on the Las Vegas Strip.  

His vision of Vegas as a premiere business destination had a dramatic impact, as other resorts adopted this new business model and conventions and business have become a critical part of our success.  

Sheldon led the charge to bring the NFL to Las Vegas, and largely through his determination and leadership, we are now the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. 

There is no doubt that the Adelson family has been among Nevada’s most charitable residents. From programs to help the homeless and hungry, support for our universities and schools, developing addiction clinics, building the Adelson School, the family’s generosity has touched every corner of our State. 

For me, in these difficult times, one act stands above all. Despite suffering significant economic losses due to the global pandemic, the shutdowns and limited business, due to mitigation protocols, Sheldon made a commitment to keep all of his Las Vegas employees paid and insured. That commitment helped keep thousands of Nevadans afloat during the most difficult of months, and Sheldon’s commitment will never be forgotten.  

Kathy and I extend our deepest sympathies to Dr Adelson, his children and all of his family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.” 

Governor Steve Sisolak

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman released a statement, mentioning Adelson’s role in bringing tourism and conventions to Las Vegas.

“Beyond the public image and a Horatio Alger rise, Sheldon Adelson took Las Vegas to a new level of limitless tourism and convention success by bringing COMDEX (CES) into reality and building a five star hotel/casino empire. Little known but of enormous impact in our City was his enormous philanthropy and generosity. Mr. Adelson was a caring and religious man who quietly made lives much stronger and meaningful. Our prayers and condolences to Dr. Miriam and the Adelson family.”

Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto also released statements on Adelson’s passing.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Sheldon Adelson. Sheldon and Miriam’s efforts to combat addiction and substance abuse in the Silver State changed the lives of many. As Jewish leaders, we also shared a deep concern for the rise in anti-Semitism and joined efforts to help combat hate. My thoughts are with Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sheldon’s entire family during this difficult time.”

Senator Jacky Rosen

“Sheldon Adelson’s vison helped transform Las Vegas from a small desert city into a world-class tourism destination. The Silver State’s massive business, entertainment, and convention industries are what they are today because of his life’s work and his dedication to building a Las Vegas that can cater to everyone from entrepreneurs to international travelers. My thoughts are with his family during this time.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro sent her condolences.

“Sheldon Adelson built one of the world’s most recognizable gaming brands, and his impact has been felt across Las Vegas and around the world. It was heartening to many Nevada families that when the COVID crisis closed our resorts and casinos, he continued payroll and benefits for thousands of employees in the face of difficult economic circumstances. He and Dr. Adelson’s personal generosity led to the founding of the Adelson Clinic, which has helped many Nevadans through the difficult road to recovery from substance abuse over the last 20 years. I offer my condolences to Dr. Adelson and the entire Adelson family for their loss.” 

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro

Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford issued the following statement, saying he is grateful to Adelson for leaving “a lasting mark on our community.”

“Sheldon Adelson is a man who has served our community in many ways: he was a pioneer in the casino and convention industry, a skilled businessman, and a philanthropist who funded a school, medical research, and countless other causes.

A man not born into wealth and privilege, Mr. Adelson was the son of immigrants who grew up sleeping on the floor of his family apartment in Boston. By the age of 12, he owned his first business and looked to the future with big dreams and a work ethic to match. By the end of his life, he had amassed over 50 companies.

Mr. Adelson was a man who worked hard to further religious causes. His work within and for the Jewish community is world renowned and will be a legacy for generations. And after the death of George Floyd, he invited me to discuss race issues with his employees to foster unity within our community, resulting in Sands-sponsored programs in the community to improve race relations. I will be forever grateful for that.

“Through his deeds, Mr. Adelson has left a lasting mark on our community, and our Nevada family is grateful for his contributions. To his wife, Miriam, his children Gary, Mitchell and Shelley, and to all of his friends and family, I extend my deepest condolences.” 

Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford

Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee called Adelson a “gaming giant” in her statement.

“I’m saddened to hear of Sheldon Adelson’s passing. He was a gaming giant who helped shape modern Las Vegas and employed thousands of Las Vegas families for decades. Most of all, I appreciate his and his family’s invaluable investments in our community, from opening clinics to help those struggling with opioid abuse, to founding the Adelson Educational Campus, a vibrant school that’s now a cornerstone of the Las Vegas Jewish community. His legacy will most certainly live on in every corner of southern Nevada. Sending my prayers and deepest condolences to his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, his children, and the entire Adelson family. Rest in Peace.” 

Rep. Susie Lee

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick says Adelson was “a pillar of Nevada’s Jewish community.”

“My deepest condolences to his family and the team members at his properties. We are thankful for so many of the wonderful contributions he has made to our community. He was committed to our veterans and Nellis families across the valley and to fighting opioid addiction, assisted his team members with building numerous community gardens, and has long been a pillar of Nevada’s Jewish community.  May his memory be a blessing.” 

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick

In a statement, former Nevada Senator Harry Reid credits Adelson for helping build “the thriving international gaming market that exists today.”

“Few people have had such significant an impact on the hotel and gaming industry and on Nevada’s economy as Sheldon Adelson. He came to Las Vegas as a master of the convention business. Adelson became one of Nevada’s giants in gaming, conventions and hospitality. He was instrumental in transforming Las Vegas into the iconic destination it is today. 

He also left an indelible impact on Asia, where he brought Las Vegas-style resorts to people in the Far East, helping to build the thriving international gaming market that exists today.

In the nearly four decades that I’ve known him, Sheldon Adelson has been outspoken with causes important to him. His advocacy for the state of Israel and Jewish causes was without equal and made a difference in countless lives both at home and abroad.

Landra and I offer our condolences to Dr. Adelson and the entire Adelson family.”  

Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid

A joint statement from Frank Fertitta and Lorenzo Fertitta noted that Adelson “recognized that property is only as good as its team.”

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our good friend Sheldon Adelson.  Through his entrepreneurial spirit and vision, Sheldon helped inspire and transform Las Vegas into the world class destination it is today.

Sheldon was and will always be a legend in the gaming industry.  Not only did he build incredible resorts for the enjoyment of his guests, he unequivocally set the bar when it came to taking care of his team members.  He recognized that a property is only as good as its team.

He will also be remembered for his many great philanthropic efforts here in Las Vegas, throughout the county and around the world.

We send our condolences and sympathies to Sheldon’s wife Miriam, the Adelson family and the entire Las Vegas Sands team on their loss.”

Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National Chairman Rabbi Peter Weintraub, National Chairman Emeritus Dr. Nily Falic, National Board Members and Las Vegas Chapter Founders Dana and Michael Werner, and National Director and CEO Steven Weil issued the following statement on Adelson’s “steadfast support of Israel.”

“Today we lost a beloved friend, dear partner, and true Zionist. His generous and unending support for the soldiers of Israel, and his commitment to the strength of the Jewish State and its people, have touched the lives of people all around the world and will live on in our hearts forever. The passing of Sheldon Adelson is a tremendous loss, to us personally, and to the entire Jewish nation. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.”  

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, are philanthropists who support numerous causes and charities. 

Adelson was also considered the nation’s most influential GOP donor over the final years of his life, setting records for individual contributions to the Republican Party.

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