Adelson slips one spot on the Forbes list

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson grew his net worth in 2014, but fell one spot in the Forbes ranking of the richest people in America.

Adelson, 81, was listed as both the gaming industry’s and Nevada’s top name on the annual ranking, which came out Monday. His net worth of $32 billion increased by $3.5 billion from a year ago but was good enough for 12th place on the overall list.

In its description of Adelson, the magazine talked more about his political views than Las Vegas Sands, which operates casinos in Macau, Las Vegas and Pennsylvania.

“Casino king Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million trying to put a Republican in the White House in 2012 and is already shaping up to be a power player again in 2016,” the magazine wrote.

The writers added that Adelson pays himself $450 million a year in dividends from Las Vegas Sands. “More than enough to cover his expenses as the most high-profile political donor in America,” they noted.

Adelson was far and ahead the leader of the five Nevadans on the Forbes list.

Wal-Mart heir Nancy Walton, 63, who lives in Henderson, ranked No. 117 overall with a net worth of $4.2 billion. Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn, 72, was listed at No. 155 with a net worth of $3.5 billion. His ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, 71, who is still a director and shareholder of the casino company, was ranked at No. 261 with a net worth of $2.4 billion.

The only other Nevada resident on the list was Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, 79, who had a net worth was $2.5 billion, good for 249th place.

Former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, 58, was No. 1 on the Forbes list for the 21st straight year with net worth of $81 billion, up $9 billion from a year ago.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, 84, was runner-up — the spot he has held since 2001 — with a fortune of $67 billion. A Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary acquired NV Energy in 2013.

The combined wealth of Forbes’ 2014 ranking is $2.29 trillion, up from $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest ever. Forbes said the increase was partly due to the strength of the U.S. stock market.

The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is $5.7 billion, the highest to date and up from $5 billion last year. Net worth increased for 303 members of the list, and decreased for 36 members. The rest were unchanged.

The were 27 newcomers who made it onto the list, including Elizabeth Holmes, 30, who founded Theranos, a Palo Alto, Calif.,-based blood testing company. Holmes is the youngest woman on the Forbes 400.

Cost of admission to the 2014 list was the highest ever at $1.55 billion, up from $1.3 billion a year ago.

The list included other names associated with Nevada businesses, primarily in the gaming industry.

Los Angeles billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, 97, the founder of MGM Resorts International, was listed at No. 119 with a net worth of $4.2 billion.

New York City-based corporate raider Carl Icahn, 78, who owns the shuttered Fontainebleau on the Strip, was listed at No. 16 on the list with a net worth of $26 billion.

Hedge fund operator John Paulson, 58, of New York City, who owns large shares of MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming Corp., and real estate associated with Lake Las Vegas, was ranked No. 34 on the list with a net worth of $13.7 billion.

Scientific Games Corp. Chairman Ronald Perelman, 71, was listed at No. 32 with a net worth of $14.4 billion. Scientific Games, a lottery industry giant, bought slot machine maker WMS Industries last year and is buying slot machine manufacturer Bally Technologies for $5.1 billion.

The managers of the two private equity firms that control Caesars Entertainment Corp., were also on the Forbes list. Leon Black, 63, who manages Apollo Global Management, was listed at No. 93 with a net worth of $5.3 billion. David Bonderman, 71, who operates TPG Capital, was at No. 253 with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Golden Nugget casino owner Tilman Fertitta, 57, was listed at No. 266 with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Fertitta’s privately held Houston-based Landry’s, a restaurant and entertainment conglomerate, owns the Golden Nugget resorts in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Atlantic City, Biloxi, Miss., and an under-construction hotel-casino in Lake Charles, La.

New York billionaire Donald Trump, 68, who owns the non-gaming Trump International on the Strip, was listed at No. 125 with a net worth of $4 billion.

Also on the list at No. 202 is Warren Stephens, 57, of Little Rock, Ark., with a net worth of $3 billion. He is the head of Stephens Media, which owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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