Sheldon Gary Adelson (born August 6, 1933) is an American billionaire businessman. Adelson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Adelson vastly increased his net worth upon the initial public offering of Las Vegas Sands in December 2004. He is currently the 13th richest American, with a fortune amounting to $14.7 billion.
Adelson's parents were Jewish. His father's family came from Eastern Europe. Adelson was born and grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, a section of Boston, where his father was an entrepreneur and sometimes drove a taxicab. He worked at a young age selling newspapers on local street corners and owned his first business by the time he was twelve. In the years that followed, he worked as a mortgage broker, investment adviser and financial consultant. He started a business selling toiletry kits, and in the 1960s he started a charter tours business with two friends. He went to college at City College of New York but did not complete a degree there.
Adelson was born into a traditionally Democratic family but became a staunch Republican as his wealth grew. "Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?" he was reported to have once asked. He began making major contributions to the Republican National Committee following clashes with labor unions at his Las Vegas properties.