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Adelson Reportedly Eyeing North Korean Casino

Could Las Vegas Casino Owner Open Property In Rogue Nation?

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Tensions between North Korea and the United States were reignited over this past weekend after the rogue nation criticized the Trump Administration’s denuclearization demands. However, one powerful Trump ally reportedly sees an opportunity to build a casino there.

Per Quartz, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO who has a net worth north of $40 billion, said last month at a charity event in Israel that he wants to build a casino in North Korea. Adelson reportedly said he’d like the Trump Administration to help end the unresolved Korean War, which could pave the way for North Korean economic development. Adelson is a veteran of the Korean War.

Adelson’s comments came around the same time as a flurry of developments that indicated North Korea was interested in opening a casino-resort in the eastern port city of Wonsan. The country is among the poorest in the world, thanks to its relative economic isolation.

During the June summit with President Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino-resort, which is owned by Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands.

According to reports, China is heavily involved behind the scenes in negotiations between North Korea and the United States. China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s trade. Because the U.S. and China are moving toward a full-blown trade war, there’s speculation that China was behind North Korea’s latest kerfuffle. The countries share a border.

The escalating trade skirmish between Washington and Beijing has caused concern for U.S. casino firms with properties in Macau, the only place in China with legal gambling. Adelson has several casinos there. His Macau properties accounted for more than 60 percent of Las Vegas Sands’ revenue of $12.88 billion in 2017, according to a financial filing obtained by Card Player.

Adelson has long been a mega-donor to the Republican party. Last spring, it was revealed that he gave $5 million to Trump’s inauguration. At that time, the contribution sparked fears that Adelson would get his long-sought internet gaming ban. That never came to fruition. About a year later, Adelson reached a deal to sell his Sands Bethlehem casino in Pennsylvania just a handful of months after that state legalized online casino gambling.