Las Vegas Sun

October 27, 2021

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5 Nevadans on Forbes list of the nation’s richest

Sheldon Adelson

Christopher DeVargas

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Nevada is home to five billionaires, and even nongamblers could wager where the money comes from.

Four of the state’s billionaires made their money in gaming, according to the Forbes list of the nation’s 400 richest people.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson is the richest man in Nevada, and his $32 billion fortune placed him as the 12th richest man in the United States this year.

His net worth grew by $3.5 billion from last year, though his 12th-place position is one spot lower on the list.

Adelson is known for his largesse in financing political campaigns. He funded Republicans in the 2012 presidential election to the tune of $100 million.

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Steven Wynn speaks to the media during the opening of the Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Sunday, October 27, 2013.

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Elaine Wynn speaks during a Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Business Power Luncheon at the Rio Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

Adelson made his fortune after selling his computer trade show COMDEX for $860 million in 1995. He then bought the Las Vegas Sands, demolished it and built the Venetian.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn is worth $3.5 billion and ranks as No. 155 on the list. His former wife, Elaine, is worth $2.4 billion and sits at No. 261.

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Casino owner Phil Ruffin and his wife Oleksandra Nikolayenko wait for the start of the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Marcos Maidana fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.

The last gaming figure on the list is Phillip Ruffin, a real estate guru who started his career selling hamburgers, according to Forbes.

He bought Treasure Island for $755 million in 2009. Today it’s worth $1.6 billion.

Previously, he bought the now-defunct New Frontier for $165 million and sold it nine years later for nearly 10 times what he paid.

The only noncasino mogul on the list from Nevada is Nancy Walton Laurie, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune.

The Forbes list came out Monday.

Critics took the opportunity to lambaste the growing income inequality gap in the United States.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter. Using the hashtag #Forbes400, he said the richest 85 people in the world owned more wealth than the bottom half of humanity, which is about 3.5 billion people.

The list also highlighted young billionaires like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. The health-tech company created new methods for testing blood that require fewer needles. At the age of 30, Holmes’ fortune of $4.5 billion makes her the youngest on the list.

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