Singapore's Casino Giant

Published August 10, 2008

Singapore's Casino Giant

Sheldon Adelson, the brains behind the Las Vegas Sands casino conglomerate is also backing Singapore's ground-breaking casino project, Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

Few Americans have made as much money in China as Sheldon Adelson. His company, Las Vegas Sands, went public in 2004, and over the next two years his net worth soared by $17.5 billion. That works out to almost $1 million an hour, weekends, holidays and nights included. "He got richer faster than anyone else in history," said Peter W. Bernstein, co-author of "All the Money in the World," a book about the people on the Forbes 400 list.

What has this to do with the Marina Bay Sands Singapore? Just about everything. To amass this amount of money and this amount of acclaim you have to be a unique person. Extra, extra, large is the clue. Not around the waist but between the ears, where it counts; an extra large thinker, one who has super-clear vision.

Mr. Adelson, 74, holds $19 billion worth of stock in the Las Vegas Sands, which operates the Venetian and also a pair of giant casinos in Macao - the Chinese territory near Hong Kong that has surpassed the Las Vegas Strip as the world's top gambling market. On Thursday, the Venetian formally opens its new Palazzo tower. And with 7,200 rooms, the expanded Venetian is the world's largest hotel.

Las Vegas Sands has committed to invest S$3.85 billion in the Marina Bay Sands project, not including the fixed $1.2 billion cost of the 6,000,000 square feet site, which by most estimates will make it the most expensive casino in the world.

In addition to the casino, other key components of the plans include three hotel towers with 2,500 rooms, a 200,000 square-foot arts and sciences museum and a convention centre with 1,200,000 square feet of space, capable of accommodating over 52,000 people.

The resort, inspired by card decks, was designed by Moshe Safdie, the Israeli architect. The company has promised to create 10,400 jobs for the project, 75 percent of them reserved for Singaporeans.

So let's get this project on the rails, Sheldon. I'm ready to roll the dice already!

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