6 ways Bill Gates could spend his $76 billion fortune

Forbes’ annual list of the world’s billionaires grew to a record 1,645 people this year, with 268 newcomers making the list.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2007, with a net worth of $38 billion in 2013.

At the top was Bill Gates, who lost the No. 1 ranking four years ago to Mexican Telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu. Gates’ net worth grew to $76 billion in 2013.

$76 billion is a lot of money. More money than a lot of countries have. Gates could do plenty with his fortune, if he wanted to spend it all in one place:

1. Run Clark County for a decade

Altogether, Clark County and its cities budgeted for $7.6 billion in expenditures in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. With his fortune, Gates could keep the entire county running for a full decade. (That’s assuming neither Gates’ fortune nor total expenditures increase over the next 10 years.)

Expenditures per year:

2. Increase Macau’s monthly gaming revenue sixteen-fold

Macau destroyed its single-month gaming revenue record in February, bringing in $4.8 billion. Gates could smash that at the drop of a hat if he felt like funneling his entire fortune into Macau.

3. Match the Strip’s monthly gaming revenue for the next 12 years

The Strip pulls in about $500 million in gaming revenue every month. All things equal, Gates could match the Strip dollar for dollar for the next 12 years.

4. Match the GDP of the entire Salt Lake City metropolitan area

The Salt Lake City metropolitan area’s gross domestic product was $72 billion in 2013. Gates could match that dollar for dollar with cash to spare, if he so desired.

He’d have more trouble matching the Las Vegas metro area’s GDP, which was $95.6 billion in 2013.

5. Buy every team in the NFL, NBA and MLB

The combined value of the NFL, NBA and MLB was about $70 billion last year. Gates could buy every franchise and most NHL teams, to boot — NHL teams were worth a combined $8.5 billion last year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • NFL: $35.4 billion
  • MLB: $22.3 billion
  • NBA: $11.8 billion
  • NHL: $8.5 billion

6. Subsidize every visitor’s trip to the Strip for a year

Nearly 38 million people visited Las Vegas (including the Strip) in 2013. With his fortune, Gates could have given every one of them $2,000 to drop at the blackjack table.

Contact Stephanie Grimes at Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes

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