Updated: Sheldon Adelson taking medical leave from Las Vegas Sands after cancer returns Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · January 7, 2021 at 4:10 pm Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson will take a medical leave of absence from the company after resuming treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the casino operator announced Thursday morning in a brief statement. Adelson, 87, was first treated for cancer in March 2019. The company’s board named Las Vegas Sands President Rob Goldstein as acting chairman and CEO. Goldstein will also assume the same positions for Sands China, the company’s subsidiary that oversees its holdings in Macau. Goldstein has held a variety of company leadership roles since joining Las Vegas Sands in 1995. He has been the company’s president since 2015. “We believe, and we believe investors concur, Mr. Goldstein is more than simply well equipped to perform the active duties in the absence of Mr. Adelson during his treatment,” Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said in a research note Thursday morning. “We do not believe there will be concerns around a change in strategy in Mr. Adelson’s absence.” Shares of Las Vegas Sands, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $58.16 Thursday, down 38 cents or 0.65%. Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, are the largest shareholders in Las Vegas Sands, controlling some 58% of the company’s stock. Patrick Dumont, Las Vegas Sands’ chief financial officer, is married to one of Miriam Adelson’s daughters. Adelson, when he was first diagnosed with cancer, did not participate in the company’s quarterly earnings conference calls for a year, but never formally took a medical leave. Las Vegas Sands revealed his diagnosis only after The Nevada Independent reported on Feb. 28, 2019, that Adelson was in poor health and couldn’t testify in a long-standing civil lawsuit in Las Vegas against him and the company. “I am extremely touched by all the calls and emails I’ve received over the past several months,” Adelson said in October 2019 during the company’s third-quarter conference call. “It has been remarkable to hear from so many people, including many of you joining us today. I deeply appreciate the well wishes and everyone who took the time to reach out to me. It certainly means a lot.” Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a form of blood cancer. Adelson, who is currently No. 19 on the Forbes 400 with a net worth of $35.9 billion, founded Las Vegas Sands after purchasing a Las Vegas Strip casino of the same name in 1987. The company operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau and has a market capitalization of almost $45 billion. On the Strip, the rat pack-era Sands was demolished in 1997 and the site was replaced over the years with Venetian Palazzo and Sands Expo and Convention Center. Adelson led the U.S. gaming industry’s charge into Macau, opening Sands Macau in 2003. The company now five properties in the Chinese gaming enclave. Adelson and his wife are considered megadonors to Republican candidates and GOP causes. In August, the Adelsons gave $75 million to a super PAC supporting the re-election of President Donald Trump. According to OpenSecrets.org, Adelson and his wife set a new record for donations from individuals in a single election cycle, giving $172.7 million. In 2016, they donated $113 million during the election cycle, including financial support for the Trump campaign. Macau, which saw gaming revenues plunge 79.3% in 2020, ending the year with its lowest gaming revenue total since 2006, has been hurt by an economic fall out from the coronavirus pandemic. However, Adelson, during the company’s quarterly conference call in October, was upbeat about the company’s prospects in Macau, a region that pre-pandemic, accounted for more than 60% of the casino operator’s quarterly revenues. “I remain steadfast in my belief that Macau has the potential to become one of the greatest business and leisure tourism destinations in the world,” Adelson said. Las Vegas Sands plans to open the Londoner Macau this month, ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday. The project, a transformation of Sands Cotai Central into the London-themed resort, is part of the company’s current $2.2 billion investment into Macau. The company said an “official ceremony” for the Londoner would be held in “early February 2021.” Chinese New Year, the largest holiday in Asia, starts on Feb. 12. Las Vegas Sands also owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where the company is investing some $3 billion in an effort to expand the hotel offerings and other non-gaming aspects of the resort. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.