By Hellen Zaboulani
Coronavirus and the resulting shutdown struck a deep blow on the casino and tourist industry. Despite this, billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has made a vow to keep paying US employees of his casino empire until at least the end of October. As per the NY Post, in a letter sent to the approximated 8,000 US workers of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Adelson said he will continue to cover full pay and benefits through at least October 31, even for those who are not working now.
“To my knowledge, we are the only company in our industry and likely one of few in the broader hospitality industry who has not furloughed or laid off employees because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Adelson said in the July 29 letter to employees obtained by The Post. “Since closing our doors in Las Vegas on March 17, and having now been reopened since early June, a top priority of our management team has been the health, safety, and livelihood of our team members who are the foundation of our great company,” said Adelson.
The 86-year-old businessman, investor and philanthropist has an estimated net worth of more than $30 billion in 2020, as per Forbes, making him the 28th-richest person in the world and 17th in Forbes 400 for the United States. He is founder, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns the stylish Venetian hotel and casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Born to a low-income family in Boston, his roots are from Ukrainian Jewish and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry.
Las Vegas’s tourist industry and its popular expo center have been financially crushed by the novel virus. Notable, the CES tech conference, which represents the city’s largest worldwide annual gathering, is going digital in 2021, forgoing the hall. The Venetian is currently open, but only at 25-percent occupancy during the week, and 50 percent for the weekend, said Las Vegas Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein. Employees are being rotated so that as many as possible can get in some hours of work. Notwithstanding, all staffers are still getting paid their full salaries, set pre-pandemic.
Meanwhile, Sands Corp is looking to make a multi-billion dollar investment in NYC, tied to a new casino it wants to build close to Citi Field, Goldstein told the Post. Sands is a non-union business in Las Vegas, but if this deal goes through it would build and operate a casino and entertainment facility in New York with union labor, Goldstein added. “It would be very additive to the Mets”, Goldstein said.