Toronto Mayor Ford Meets with Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson
Visit from U.S. billionaire hints at plans for Toronto casino
U.S. casino mogul and billionaire Sheldon Adelson paid a visit to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at city hall on Thursday, possibly indicating that plans are in the works to build a gambling complex in the Greater Toronto Area.
Adelson, 79, arrived at the mayor’s office with his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson and two advisers for the private, 45-minute meeting.
One of the world’s richest men, Adelson is the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., one of at least three Nevada-based gambling tycoons that expressed previous interest when the Ontario government announced plans to build a casino in the GTA.
Other potential suitors include MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Woodbine Entertainment and Onex Corp.
Sands, which operates nine casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Singapore and Macao, is worth over $24-billion, according to Forbes, making Adelson the 14th wealthiest person in the world.
Sands had requested the meeting, according to Ford’s press secretary George Christopoulos.
Mark Towhey, the mayor’s chief of staff, and Earl Provost, director of stakeholder relations also attended, while councillor Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, told The Globe and Mail he popped in briefly to greet Adelson.
“The mayor has said he would always be open minded to casinos but it had to be a good deal for taxpayers and in the best interest of the city,” said Christopoulos.
This was Ford’s first meeting with Adelson, who told reporters “there are a lot of ifs” before leaving city hall in a stretch limo.
Adelson and Ford happen to share a conservative outlook, as the billionaire donated millions of dollars to former U.S. Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich. Adelson has since suggested he will spend up to $100 million to help the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.
He has spent $41.1 million so far to “defeat Obama and other Democrats,” according to the New Yorker.