Sands' Adelson pushed for COVID19 relief for small business, but not his casino company

Thursday 26th March 2020

Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns properties including The Venetian and The Palazzo.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson made calls to Washington contacts to express support for an economic stimulus plan to help the country weather the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company doesn't want government loans for itself.

Adelson is the CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns resorts in Macau, Singapore and the United States, including the Venetian and Palazzo on the Strip.

He's also a major Republican political donor and supporter of President Donald Trump. In 2018, Trump awarded Adelson's wife, Miriam, a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Bloomberg News first reported that Adelson expressed support for a governmental effort to enact a stimulus plan to help reduce the economic pain from work stoppages and business closures as communities seek to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Mr. Adelson made calls to Washington to push for investments in small and medium size ... businesses, as he realizes these businesses are the backbone of our economy," Sands spokesman Ron Reese said in an email. "He did not lobby for passage of any particular version of the stimulus or for the gaming industry specifically."

Reese also said the company isn't seeking government help for itself.

"We have no plans to seek government loans," Reese said.

Las Vegas Sands, which had more than $13 billion in revenue in 2019, closed its Las Vegas properties under Gov. Steve Sisolak's order to shut down casinos for 30 days while the pandemic is spreading.

Like Wynn Resorts, which also operates in Macau and on the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas Sands has said it will continue to pay its employees during the closure.

Former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren also recently lobbied Trump for aid, the Bloomberg report stated. In contrast to Wynn and Sands, MGM has announced layoffs while the company weathers the pandemic storm.

A letter from MGM President Bill Hornbuckle said workers affected by layoffs or furloughs would maintain benefits through June 30.

Sisolak assigned Murren, who recently left MGM, the task of rallying private sector resources to help the state endure the pandemic crisis.

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