In Memoriam – Sheldon Adelson

Jorge Costa Oliveira*

Sheldon Adelson was a visionary in many ways.
He was the first one to realize that there was room in Las Vegas for a privately-owned large convention center, and the first to build a MICE business model around it.
Macau benefited from the adapted replication of that model.
He also adopted a very good theme-brand for LVS – “The Venetian” by executing its resorts a few tiers above the usual Vegas kitsch.
He was again a visionary on the “terraforming” of CoTai. He did it not by creating land banks but by believing that new integrated resorts catering for different segments of the market would attract more customers and increase visitation, boosting all areas of business in the resorts and in Macau’s economy at large. He believed that the offer at Cotai would not be enough for Chinese visitors alone and that the several business areas within the resorts would not reach saturation for at least 20 years… and he was right.
It was his sheer will that imposed on the top management and group financers significant investment in areas of entertainment that would never make money in the short term. All other gaming groups were shy and narrow-minded – with the partial exception of Melco – not realizing that a presence in Macau is also a fantastic opportunity to create or enhance one’s brand… it’s not only about the revenue in the short term.
Under Sheldon’s guidance, Venetian Macao also had the insight of understanding that its first Macau casino project – the Sands – was an excellent opportunity to engage a multitude of [unnecessary] financing entities aware of Macau’s financing opportunities, which arise from the liberalization of casino gaming and the adoption of an integrated resorts model. This approach is one of the important components that contributed tremendously to the raising of funds for all subsequent resorts’ projects in the SAR.
Sheldon reinvented himself a couple of times but was always faithful to his project, to his company, to his family, to his country, and to his People. A man of strong convictions, he nonetheless knew when to listen and often readjusted his strategy…
Last, but not the least, Sheldon was the first foreign casino tycoon to understand that Macau’s most important “business” is not gaming; it is politics…

* Former Commissioner for Legal Affairs, Macau Gaming Commission (2002-2010);
Financial Consultant & Business Developer

Categories Macau Opinion