Las Vegas Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson Biggest US Political Donor Over Past 20 Years

Posted on: July 4, 2020, 12:09h. 

Last updated on: July 6, 2020, 12:13h.

Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, have donated more money to federal political campaigns over the past two decades than anyone else in the United States.

Sheldon Adelson political donations Donald Trump
Sheldon Adelson has used his billions to try and influence political leaders — and as a result of being President Donald Trump’s largest financial donor since he entered politics — always has the ear of the commander in chief. (Image: Patrick Semansky/AP)

According to campaign finance records, the Adelsons have given $308 million in political contributions between 1990 and 2020.

Adelson, the 86-year-old founder, chairman, and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is the Republican Party’s most resilient donor. Worth an estimated $30.4 billion by Forbes as of this week, Adelson has greatly increased his political activity over the last several general election cycles. It’s a growing trend among the richest people in America.

Campaign contributions from US billionaires have skyrocketed from $32 million in 2010 to $611 million in 2018, according to a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness and Institute for Policy Studies. The surge is predominantly due to a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allowed companies and outside groups to spend unlimited amounts on elections.

After the Adelsons, former 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg are second and third in political donations since 1990. They’ve respectively contributed $275 million and $181 million (their totals do not include what they spent on their 2020 campaigns).

The Adelsons gave $82.58 million to Republicans in 2016 and increased that to $123.25 million during the 2018 midterms.

Casino Billionaires Bet on Trump

Las Vegas might be known as Sin City and America’s Playground, but when it comes to politics, the area’s richest members are overwhelmingly conservative. They’ve made large contributions to President Donald Trump’s run in 2016 and his 2020 reelection campaign. The President, of course, had a lengthy history in the gaming industry, including casinos in Atlantic City and Indiana.

In addition to the Adelsons, billionaire Phil Ruffin — who owns TI, Circus Circus, and a 50 percent stake in Trump International, along with the family of its namesake — has opened up his wallet to support his longtime friend’s White House ambitions.

The Fertitta billionaires have, too. Frank III and Lorenzo, who own Station Casinos, have given millions to the Trump campaign. So has their former employee, UFC President Dana White.

Disgraced former casino mogul Steve Wynn has also supported Trump and was the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee when the sexual misconduct allegations against him emerged publicly in January of 2018.

2020 Donations

Late last year, reports surfaced that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson would delay going all-in on Trump’s reelection to ease concerns that the billionaire president is being funded by other billionaires — not small contributions, such as the Democratic Party likes to tout.

But Nevada’s richest family is apparently no longer holding back. Per the Federal Election Commission, Sheldon and Miriam each donated $580,600 in February to the Super PAC Trump Victory.

The Fertitta brothers and their wives contributed $1,442,400 to Trump Victory in October of last year. Ruffin donated $755,200 to Trump Victory.

Dana White gave $1 million to America First Action, another pro-Trump PAC. Wynn gave $500,000 to American Crossroads, a conservative committee.