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Adelson says he’ll keep paying casino employees during pandemic

Gambling magnate wins praise for promise to maintain salaries for thousands of workers at Las Vegas properties despite massive decline in annual revenue

The Adelsons arrive at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. The couple are staunch supporters of the Jewish state. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images/via JTA)
The Adelsons arrive at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. The couple are staunch supporters of the Jewish state. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images/via JTA)

JTA — Billionaire casino magnate and Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson said in a letter to his Las Vegas employees that he will maintain pay and benefits through at least October 31.

The letter dated Wednesday recognized the personal challenges of the employees during the coronavirus crisis, including caring for elderly relatives, spouses who have lost their jobs and uncertainty about whether their children would be returning to school.

The company, Las Vegas Sands Corp, reportedly paid its staff of 10,000 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas full salaries and benefits during Nevada’s state-mandated closure that began on March 17 and ran for over two months.

Sands owns the Venetian and Palazzo casinos and the Sands Expo & Convention Center on the strip.

The resorts reopened in early June but have seen a huge drop in business, with the casinos relying mostly on local gamblers. Many other casinos have laid off or furloughed workers during the pandemic.

Photographed through glass, streets are empty of traffic along the Las Vegas Strip as casinos and other business are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. reported a 97% decline in revenue for the three-month period ending June 30, showing  $98 million in net revenue, down from $3.3 billion a year earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, second right, and his wife, Miriam Ochsorn, right, look at a model of the Sands Cotai Central resort during a news conference in Macau on Wednesday, April 12, 2012. (AP /Kin Cheung)

Twitter users responded to reports of the letter calling Adelson a “mensch” and an “honorable man.” Some commented that they would plan to book vacations at Adelson properties once they begin traveling.

Employees also tweeted praise for Adelson, a major giver to Israel causes and Republican candidates.

Adelson and his Israel-born wife Miriam Adelson own popular Israeli tabloid Israel Hayom, seen as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Las Vegas Review Journal daily newspaper.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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