Casino Tycoon Dismisses Critics of China

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, one of America’s richest men, dismissed critics of China on Thursday, saying that the Chinese are living a good life and the United States shouldn’t try to police the entire world.

The capitalist from Las Vegas defended the communist regime as he checked on the progress of a USD 2.3 billion (EUR 1.74 billion) casino resort he is building in Macau on China’s southeastern coast. The tiny city is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

Adelson, ranked No. 3 of Forbes magazine’s list of the richest Americans, noted that many people, especially Congress members, like to criticize China for its human rights record and other problems. But he said he liked the way the Chinese run their country.

„People seem to be living a good life in China,“ he said, adding that he hasn’t spent much time in impoverished rural areas. „Look at the incredible progress China has made. How can someone say they’re doing the wrong thing?“

Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., said those who don’t like the way China is being ruled just shouldn’t go to the country.

„I don’t think the U.S. should be the policeman of the whole world,“ he said.

Human rights groups and other critics of China say the country is ruled by a brutal leadership that blocks democratic reforms, jails dissidents, denies religious freedom and heavily censors the media.

Adelson has enjoyed great success in Macau since 2004 when he opened the 740-table Sands Macau, the world’s biggest casino by tables. The casino – the first Las Vegas-style casino in the city – earned back all of the US$ 240 million in invested capital within a year, the company said. Most of the gamblers were from mainland China.

Adelson’s next project is The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, with 3,000 suites and a casino with 6,000 slot machines and 700 tables. The complex, due to open in July or August, also includes a massive convention center and shopping mall. It aims to be the center for trade shows and conventions in Asia.

The U.S. tycoon is seeking China’s permission to build a USD 13 billion (EUR 9.83 billion) development with golf courses and hotels on Hengqin Island, near Macau. It was not known when the government would make a decision.