Sheldon Adelson, the founder and chairman of Las Vegas Sands, remains the world’s richest casino billionaire, his estimated net worth at $26.8 billion.
The 86-year-old casino tycoon possesses more than half of the Sands empire. The company owns and operates The Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip and was the first to develop the Cotai Strip in China’s Macau.
Forbes released its annual “World’s Billionaires List” this week, and 22 individuals whose primarily business is in the casino and gaming industry have fortunes totaling at least $1 billion. Adelson is ranked No. 28 of the world’s 2,095 billionaires Forbes listed.
After Adelson, the next richest casino tycoon is 91-year-old Lui Che Woo of Hong Kong. The Galaxy Entertainment founder has an estimated net worth of $11.7 billion. Australia’s Johann Graf, founder of gambling firm Novomatic, is third at $6.5 billion.
The only other US casino billionaires are Steve Wynn ($3.1 billion), and his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn ($1.4 billion).
Forbes ranks billionaires who have, or in Steve Wynn’s case, had, the majority of their wealth held in shares in publicly traded companies, meaning individuals such as the Fertitta brothers, who privately own Station Casinos, are not on the list. That’s also the case for their distant cousin, Tilman Fertitta, who owns Golden Nugget casinos.
Coronavirus Depletes Fortunes
Tens of millions of people are out of work around the globe because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the world’s richest people certainly are not immune to the health crisis.
“As the pandemic tightened its grip on Europe and America, global equity markets imploded, tanking many fortunes. As of March 18, when we finalized this list, Forbes counted 2,095 billionaires, 58 fewer than a year ago and 226 fewer than just 12 days earlier,” Forbes reports.
Of the billionaires who remain, 51 percent are poorer than they were last year. In raw terms, the world’s billionaires are worth $8 trillion, down $700 billion from 2019,” the study concluded.
Forbes says 267 people who made last year’s billionaires list no longer have at least 1,000 million dollars. There were 26 casino billionaires on the 2019 list.
Adelson was worth upwards of $40 billion just a few short months ago. Shares of Las Vegas Sands, however, have gone from $74 in January, to $48.13 at the close of trading yesterday – a 35 percent decline.
The 22 casino billionaires are collectively worth $96.9 billion. That’s down from $125.3 billion a year ago.
At $96.9 billion, the 22 casino magnates are $16.1 billion poorer than Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person with a net worth of $113 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is next at $98 billion.
The United States is home to the most billionaires with 614, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macau) at 456.
Forbes keeps a daily real-time net worth of all 2,095 billionaires. With Sands stock up today, Adelson’s fortune as of April 9 stands at $31 billion.