Sheldon Adelson Hopes to Build a Casino in the New Jersey Meadowlands

Sheldon Adelson said at the American Gaming Association’s Global Gaming Expo that he would like to open a casino in North Jersey Meadowlands. New Jersey’s leaders have yet to approve such a casino, but if the state ever offers a license for a Meadowlands casino, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is likely to pursue it.

Very Attractive Place

In his speech, the multi-billionaire casino executive said he finds East Rutherford to be a “very attractive place” for a casino. Found just outside New York City, East Rutherford is home to the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the Meadowlands Racetrack. Having a casino a few miles from New York City would be a dream project. It would service a metropolis of 10 million people, which has the highest living standard on the continent. Manhattan is home to some of the world’s richest and flashiest high rollers. New York City attracts millions of international and domestic tourists each year, along with a convention visitors.

In other words, North Jersey would be among the best locations to build a casino in the world. But Adelson, who acquired approximately $38 billion as the president of Las Vegas Sands Corp., says the advantages of having such a casino are obvious to see.

New York Might Counter

The decision to go after such a license isn’t an easy one, says Adelson. The 80-year old executive says New Jersey would have a tremendous advantage at first over New York state rivals, but New York’s leader always could change the equation if a North Jersey casino was too successful.

Look, it’s a two-edged sword,” said Adelson, speaking of the casino licensing process. In a kind of prediction of where the market eventually was headed. “Lookit: They’re taking all the New Yorkers’ money, and they’re sucking it up in that casino in Meadowlands. We gotta open in New York and keep the money in New York.

Regional Gaming Considerations

Sheldon Adelson did not say what a North Jersey casino would do to the Sands Bethlehem outside Philadelphia, but it’s possible his desire to acquire a Meadowlands license could be to limit the damage done to that property. One of the reason the Sands Bethlehem has been so successful is it’s reliance on Asian-style gaming. Sands Bethlehem has 50 baccarat tables and buses in ethnic Asian players from the New York City metropolitan area.

It is likely those Asian players would prefer to stay in the New York City area instead of bus out to Bethlehem, especially if the new casino operation offered the kind of baccarat gaming the LVS does.

New York Casino Industry

At present, New York has 5 tribal casinos and is in the midst of adding 4 private casinos. These would be located in the Catskills, Hudson River valley, and Albany regions, with none in Manhattan until a 7-year moratorium passed. Once the moratorium was over, though, New York leaders would be certain to reassess.

New Jersey Casino Industry

New Jersey, on the other hand, has a decades-old ban on casinos outside of Atlantic City. A movement is growing to repeal that ban and approve one or two licenses for North Jersey, including a casino in East Rutherford and perhaps a second one in Jersey City. New Jersey also has a moratorium (ending February 2016), so it would likely have the first area casino built.

Sheldon Adelson at Global Gaming Expo

The comments about the Las Vegas Sands and the North Jersey casino came during Sheldon Adelson’s 56-minute interview with Roger Gross of Global Gaming Business. This was but one of many issues and developments covered in the discussion, which was billed as the keynote speech. Michael A. Leven introduced Adelson as if it was a keynote speech, but it was more of an interview. In Leven’s introduction, he described Sheldon Adelson in glowing terms, saying that Adelson is “always direct and absolutely confident in an answer”.

That certainly proved true, though absolute confidence tends to dismiss new perspectives or inputs. That’s a natural tendency when one is vastly successful, because a person has shown they know better than others. Most of the time with highly successful people, it’s an advantage and a strength. In certain cases, it can lead to fallacies.

When discussing online gambling–and kudos to Roger Gross for presenting the alternative arguments with force–Sheldon Adelson seemed out of touch. When the subject of encryption technology used to assure children could not gamble online, Adelson seemed to believe all people in the younger generation were hackers who could easily get around safety protocols.

Adelson was challenged with the idea that the technology could detect where a person is located and therefore it bar people from gambling in South Carolina, Utah, or any of the other 45 U.S. states which don’t have legal online gambling. Instead of admitting such technology would keep most people from playing illegally, Adelson expanded his notion that such technology is easily hacked to include all 300 million Americans. According to Sheldon Adelson, online gambling puts “a casino in the hands” of every American, because all of them seem to know how to get past the firewalls used to assure compliance with the law. In other words, Sheldon Adelson hand-waved the notion that technology can assure compliance with the law. The impression one got was of a person whose theories of how the world works aren’t often challenged rigorously, as they were by Mr. Gross.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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