The richest casino owner in the world is Sheldon Gary Adelson. As of writing, Adelson’s company portfolio and net worth stand at $39 billion. He established the most prominent gambling empire in the form of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
At its peak, during the pre-pandemic era, Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands brought in more than $13.74 billion in annual revenue. At some point, the casino earned more than $32 million a day, making him one of the wealthiest casino owners in the history of gambling.
Sheldon Adelson Early Life
Born in 1933, Adelson was brought up in a relatively poor household in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. He was the son of Arthur Adelson, a taxi driver of Ukrainian Jewish and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, and Sarah, a knitting shop operator.
These humble beginnings encouraged him to try to find ways to make money at a tender age. In fact, Adelson is said to have earned his first wage at the young age of 10, when he started selling newspapers on the streets of Boston. When he reached 15, he already owned a candy vending machine business.
With such business suave, Sheldon made around $5 million as a young adult by 1968. He routinely invests in high-risk assets and start-ups. He has invested in the toiletries industry, IT sector, and exhibition segment in his colorful investment career and has collaborated with big tech companies like Microsoft and Apple.
He also owned or had shares in many media houses and news sites, including Las Vegas Review-Journal and Israel Hayom. In the course of his entrepreneurial career, Adelson is thought to have created more than 58 businesses.
Adelson ran a huge gambling business that spanned many destinations, from Las Vegas to Macau. His entry into the gambling scene happened in 1989 when he purchased the Sands Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas for a whopping $110 million. Adelson demolished the Sands Casino & Hotel and, in its place, built The Venetian, which is currently the second biggest casino resort property in the world.
Most prominently in the gambling business world, Adelson was the chairman, CEO, and founder of Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
Through this venture, the casino tycoon owns and operates the Sands Expo and Convention Center, The Venetian Las Vegas, and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Adelson was an active philanthropist, mostly donating to the republic party and initiatives. He made contributions to well-known Republican politicians, including Donald Trump. Reports show that he gave a minimum of $17 million to Newt Gingrich during his 2012 GOP primaries. He also made political contributions of at least $25 million to former President Donald Trump.
Adelson gave well over $120 million in 2020 alone to Republican candidates and causes, including Donald Trump campaigns.
Adelson married Sandra in 1970, adopting her three kids – Mitchell, Gary, and Shelley – in the process. They divorced in 1988. He met Miriam Farbstein Ochshorn a year later and got married in 1991.
He was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2001 and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2019.
He died in 2021 at the age of 87 in his Malibu home after a long-term illness, leaving the casino empire to his three kids and wife, Miriam Adelson.
Naturally, Adelson is no longer the richest casino owner following his death. That title currently goes to Lui Che Woo. Let’s look at the wealthiest casino owners today.
(1) Lui Che Woo
Lui Che Woo currently tops the list of the richest casino owners in the world.
Lui is a Hong Kong-based casino owner with an estimated fortune of around $21 billion. Lui is famously known as the chairman of both K Wah International Holdings, a property development company, and the Galaxy Entertainment Group, a casino operator in Macau.
As far as the casino business goes, he is the owner of Galaxy Macau, one of the most profitable casino resorts, bringing around $8 billion each year in revenues.
The casino complex has six hotels within the property, offers over 2,200 guest rooms, and a large gaming floor with 600 table games and over 1,500 slot machines.
(2) Johann Graf
If you have never heard of Johann Graf, you are not alone. The billionaire is the owner and founder of Novomatic, an Austrian gambling firm. It operates numerous casinos and offers gambling products like slot machines, video poker games, and electronic table games.
He ditched the life of a butcher shop owner to own one of the most respected names in the gambling industry. Graf went from pinball machine importation business to working for a slot company in the UK. He established Novomatic in 1980
His current net worth is estimated at $4.9 billion.
(3) Pansy Ho
Stanley Ho was one of the wealthiest casino owners until his demise in 2020. By the time he passed, his net worth had sat around $7 billion.
He was the founder and chairman of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) and SJM Holdings, the operator of 20 Macau-based casinos, including Grand Lisboa Macau. His casinos offer more than 2,400 slot machines and over 1,700 table games between them.
Pansy Ho is the daughter and heiress of the casino empire of the late billionaire Stanley Ho. She took over her father’s global gambling empire.
She currently has many business interests in Asia and North America. Her current net worth is valued at nearly $3.8 billion.
(4) Philipp Gene Ruffin
Phil Ruffin is one of the most recognized billionaire casino owners in Las Vegas. He co-owns Trump International Las Vegas and wholly owns Circus Circus Hotel & Casino and Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.
His net worth is pegged at around $3.5 billion.
(5) James Douglas Packer
James Packer is the richest gambling owner in Australia. He is the largest shareholder in Crowns Resorts, a gambling conglomerate with a significant presence in London and Australia.
James comes from a long line of famous people. He is the son of media tycoon Kerry Packer and grandson of Sir Frank Packer.
The tycoon inherited Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, Consolidated Media Holdings, and Crown Resorts in 2005. He currently runs his Australian gambling business with her sister.
The net worth of James Douglas Packer is more than $3.2 billion.
(6) Steve Wynn
Stephen Wynn (also Steve Wynn) is an art collector, property developer, and casino mogul. He built some of the most recognizable casinos and resorts in Las Vegas with Elaine Wynn, his ex-wife.
The duo is responsible for Wynn Las Vegas, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Treasure Island, and many more.
Steve Wynn played one of the most significant roles in developing Las Vegas to become one it is today.
He currently owns numerous casinos in Las Vegas and worldwide under the umbrella of Wynn Resorts. The billionaire casino owner is estimated to be worth over $3.3 billion as of publishing.
(7) Elaine Wynn
Elaine Wynn is the former wife of the gambling billionaire Steve Wynn. Together, the husband and wife created some of the most prominent casinos in the Las Vegas scene. She co-founded Wynn Resorts and Mirage Resorts.
Her fortune is estimated at around $1.7 billion today.
(8) Lorenzo Fertitta
Born Lorenzo Joseph Fertitta, he is a casino executive and entrepreneur. Although he owns casinos, Lorenzo is more interested in sports promotion. He’s well-known for being a promoter of little-known sports.
His estimated casino worth is $1.2 billion.
(9) Frank Fertitta III
Frank Fertitta III is the current CEO of Stations Casinos, a hotel, and casino firm that operates Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station, and Santa Fe Station. He was the former owner and founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
His casino’s net worth is estimated at $1.25 billion.
(10) Phil Ruffin
Phil is a business partner of former president Donald Trump. Aside from the casino industry, he has interests in convenience stores, oil production, greyhound racing tracks, and real estate.
The family of the late Adelson owns numerous casinos under Las Vegas Sands Corporation, including:
The casino covers nearly 40 acres of prime real estate and over 6,253k square feet of land area. The casino floor spans 160,000 square feet and includes 700 table games and 2,500 slot & video poker machines. The resort complex has over 50 restaurants, 2,500 guest rooms, theaters, museums, bars, etc.
The Venetian Las Vegas is a Venice-themed casino and one of the most recognizable places in Sin City. It boasts over 4,000 guest rooms and suites and wedding chapels, a multitude of restaurants, bars, and Grand Canal Shopping Complex with boutique shops, gondola rides, and more. The casino gaming floor measures 120,000 square feet and features 139 games, almost 1,250 gaming machines, and 20 table games.
It has since been closed. It had 139,000 square feet of casino floor with 200 table games and over 3,000 slot machines when it was open.
Fashioned after Sands Las Vegas, this casino was opened in 2004. It covers 1 million square feet. The casino floor provides over 740 table games and over 1,390 slot machines, as well as hundreds of video poker machines.
Styled after The Venetian Las Vegas, Venetian Macao has over 3000 suites, a lazy river, wave pools, lanais, and botanical gardens. The 550,000-square-foot casino offers 3,400 gaming machines, 33 poker tables, and 800 table games.
He also owned numerous magazines and publications in Israel and the US.