Sheldon Adelson, the top dog at Las Vegas Sands Corp., is recovering after a fall that resulted in three broken ribs for the 84-year-old gaming mogul. The incident occurred while Adelson was riding a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, while in town to celebrate the anniversary of his own Venetian Macau property.

The Venetian Macau’s ten-year anniversary bash was missing its most distinguished guest: Las Vegas Sands founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The octogenarian broke three ribs in a fall. (Image: Yuya Shino/Reuters)

The injury forced Adelson to miss the 10th anniversary celebration of his company’s Venetian Macau resort. Modeled after its sister casino, The Venetian Las Vegas, the Macau edition is the seventh-largest building in the world, in terms of floor space, with 10.5 million square feet.

GGRAsia, an online gaming media outlet focused primarily on the Pan-Asian gaming industry, broke the news of Adelson’s fall. In a statement, Sands Vice President of Communications Ron Reese said, “Mr. Adelson has been receiving treatment for the injury and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Adelson walks with a cane, and has used a motorized wheelchair for many years.

Political Influence

Forbes estimates Sheldon Adelson is presently worth in the neighborhood of $37 billion, which makes the casino magnate one of the 20 wealthiest people on planet Earth. Not bad for the son of immigrants who grew up sleeping on the floor of a Boston tenement.

Today, few individuals are more powerful in the gambling industry, but the casino magnate’s influence doesn’t stop there.

Through his tens of millions of dollars in political campaign contributions to Republican politicians, Adelson is one of the most sought-after GOP donors among candidates. Adelson was the second-biggest campaign donor in 2016 to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign, with $10 million, outspent only by hedge fund Renaissance Technologies CEO Robert Mercer, at $13.5 million.

Adelson used his influence to persuade Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to introduce anti-online gambling legislation in their respective chambers. Adelson adamantly opposed to internet gambling, and the businessman has allocated millions in resources while trying, so far without success, to ban online poker and casinos on the federal level.

The legislation, known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) has never even made it far enough to reach a vote in either house and it last saw action, according to the Congressional website congress.gov, almost three years ago, in March 2015.

Still in the Game

Despite his age, Adelson hasn’t slowed down. While competitor MGM Resorts said recently it will focus solely on Las Vegas once its development cycle (including a hopeful Japan property) is completed, Las Vegas Sands continues to look internationally for new casino locales.

The vast majority of Sands’ revenue comes from its Macau operations, where the company owns five properties. Sands is currently spending over $1 billion to rebrand Sands Cotai.

Beginning in 2020, gaming licenses for Macau’s six operators will begin to expire. Sands’ is set to terminate in 2022. The Macau government is reviewing regulations surrounding the industry ahead of the renewal period.

Reese’s statement shows just how focused Adelson remains on Macau. “He was not able to participate in the events celebrating the 10th anniversary … but is grateful for the support of everyone in attendance, especially those representing the government. He looks forward to returning to Macau in early 2018.”

Las Vegas Sands continues to be a top contender, along with MGM and Wynn, to receive an invitation to build in Japan should the country legalize commercial gambling, as is expected sometime in 2018.