Sheldon Adelson and drama: Suing, Supporting Nuclear Warfare…

In the space of one week three very different international news headlines carried the name of the 81-year-old billionaire and owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson’s company has recently won a lawsuit against a number of Chinese online gambling sites; he has taken over the position of Sands China CEO; and it was revealed that he is a major donor behind the United Against Nuclear Iran pressure group.


Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson

The first story is not altogether surprising and Adelson’s case was certainly warranted. The online newspaper Jewish Business News reported that the Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) had won a trademark infringement lawsuit against a number of Chinese online gambling sites which had “fragrantly used the group’s logo without permission.”

Adelson is no friend of the online gambling industry in general and he has spent fortunes in funding campaigns and interest groups to counter legislation that relaxes online gambling laws, making this infringement particularily provacative. LVS argued that as a result of the defedants’ actions the corporation had effectively lost control over the SANDS Mark. The judge found in favour of LVS and awared the company $2 million in damages and a permanent injunction on the Chinese casinos. The websites have been removed but Adelson is unlikely to receive any of the money as the operators (who had applied for a privacy protection service) have since disappeared.

In the second bit of Adelson news, Bloomberg reported that he would be taking over as chief executive officer of Sands China Ltd, putting him in charge of the group (preparing to open its fifth casino this year) amid a record slump in Macau’s revenue.

Online newspaper, The Nation, was one of a few publications to report Sheldon Adelson had paid roughly a third of the budget of the United Against Nuclear Iran pressure group. The Nation reported that Adelson had routed his $500,000 donation through his family foundation, as revealed by tax documents. United Against Nuclear Iran takes a hardline approach, vehemently opposing negotiations with Iran and advocating blockades of food and medicine, even military action.

Adelson himself has reportedly made no secret of his antipathy towards Iran and his opposition to the reopening of the negotiations over its nuclear programme. This connection also sheds light on the February 2013 hack that targeted Las Vegas Sands Corp, which crippled the company’s systems and cost an estimated $40 million in damages. The hack is believed to have eminated from Iran, according to Jewish Business News.