With a net worth of $20.5 billion, Sheldon Adelson is ranked third on the Forbes list of richest Americans. The 74-year-old chief executive of Las Vegas Sands attributes his rags-to-riches story to making right decisions at the right time.
In Macau for the christening of the new Venetian Macao resort with 3,000 hotel rooms, a 15,000-seat stadium and 350 shops, besides a $2.4 billion gaming center, the gambling tycoon shared some of his success story in this published interview.
"I am a businessman. When we won the bid for this land, I saw a huge opportunity for business. Manpower here is cheap. Macau is merely seen as a gambling den. I wanted to change this perception. At Venetian Macao resort, only 5% of the total space has been devoted to casinos. The rest has been taken up by hotel rooms, shops, the stadium. I want people to visit Macau as a tourist place and not as a gambling den. It’s the only convention-based resort in the whole of Asia."
If you say that gambling is the biggest money-spinner for you, why are you trying to downplay that part of the hotel?
"Just around 5% of the resort space has been allocated for casinos, but it is supposed to earn two-thirds of my revenue. I want people to understand that there is nothing wrong in gambling, it’s a legitimate way of making your dreams come true."
How do you aim to replicate the success of Las Vegas in Macau?
"In Las Vegas, casino constitutes 35% of my business. Here two-thirds of my business will come from gambling. Las Vegas has evolved into one of the most mature travel destinations. We had 39 million visitors this year. Tax rates in Macau are much higher than in Vegas, but we intend to balance that with the much cheaper manpower here."
Your mantra for success?
"Making the right decisions at the right time."