Last week Forbes released their richest 400 list. This features the wealthiest 400 people in the United States. Since that list was published, I have been writing articles on a number of these people, and today it is time to look at a billionaire who lives in Las Vegas.
The wealthiest person in Las Vegas
With a net fortune of $30.4 billion is Las Vegas resident Miriam Adelson. Her wealth places her at number 24 in the United States and also at number one in Nevada.
Miriam was born in 1945 in Tel Aviv, where her parents had fled from Poland just before the Holocaust. She undertook the compulsory army service required of all Israelis working as a medical officer before completing a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She then earned a medical degree from the Sackler Medical School in Tel Aviv.
Miriam came to the United States in 1986 to serve as an associate physician at Rockefeller University, and it was there that she met Sheldon Adelson on a blind date. They ended up marrying in 1991. After leaving Rockefeller University, Miriam became a doctor focusing on addiction and founded a substance abuse center and research clinic.
Meanwhile, her husband, Sheldon, was turning his eyes towards Las Vegas. He had always been a serial entrepreneur from a young age, starting various businesses, and in 1995 he sold one of them- Comdex, which was the leading computer industry tradeshow. Sheldon used the funds from that sale to purchase the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, which he demolished and replaced with the Venetian. The theme of the hotel was first suggested by Miriam when they honeymooned in Venice a few years earlier.
In 2000 Miriam opened a second abuse center- the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Research Clinic in Las Vegas.
“This is a segment of the population that does not cry out. They are dejected and weakened, and at my clinics we give them their lives back. In this field, with every person you save, you save another 20 people around them—their parents, their children, their siblings—even society as a whole.” Dr Miriam Adelson
Sheldon passed away at the age of 87 in January 2021, leaving Miriam with over half of the $48 billion gambling empire he had created. This includes casinos in Las Vegas, Singapore, and Macao.
In addition to her commitment to helping treat people with substance addiction, Miriam has spent a lot of her time on philanthropy- donating a lot of her fortune.
The Adelson Family Foundation has donated $200 million to Taglit-Birthright Israel, $50 million to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and over $100 million to The Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas. Miriam has also worked with the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition, she flies out hundreds of injured American service members and their families by private plane to Las Vegas for high-roller vacations.
Miriam and Sheldon were considered GOP megadonors contributing over $180 million to Republican campaigns in 2020. So it should come as no surprise that Miriam was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Donald Trump in 2018. The award is the highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States.
“When (Trump) clasped America’s highest civilian honor around my neck, I was euphoric with wonderment and gratitude” Dr Miriam Adelson
While Miriam is the wealthiest person in Las Vegas, she certainly hasn't just relied on her husband for her fortune. Instead, she has been very successful in her own right through her medical work and her substance abuse centers.
Readers, what do you think of Miriam's story? Have any of you met her or dealt with her before. What was your experience?
As always, please leave your comments in the section below.
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