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Casino Magnate, GOP Donor Sheldon Adelson Buys Las Vegas Newspaper

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's go now to the mystery of Las Vegas solved. The family of casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson ended that mystery, confirming that they bought one of the city's two daily newspapers, the Review-Journal. The family said it delayed the announcement to avoid distracting from the Republican presidential debate, and that led to the mystery of who had bought the paper. That debate, of course, was held at Adelson's Venetian resort casino hotel in Las Vegas. NPR's Peter Overby reports on the most influential billionaires in the Republican Party.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Sheldon Adelson and his wife and business partner, Miriam, gave an estimated $100 million in the 2012 elections. As a couple, they were number one among donors of hard money - that is, disclosed contributions - according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. They gave to a super PAC that kept Newt Gingrich alive in the Republican primaries, and they gave millions more to the super PAC for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, not to mention the outside groups that got Adelson cash, such as American Crossroads and the Republican Jewish Coalition. But so far this year, they're just rumors. Several weeks ago, Donald Trump told Fox News that he knows Sheldon Adelson, and they like each other, but he doesn't need Adelson's money. Not, Trump said, like Marco Rubio.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOX NEWS BROADCAST)

DONALD TRUMP: If Sheldon gives to him, he'll have total control over Rubio, and that's the problem with the way the system works.

OVERBY: Sheldon Adelson has been a businessman for nearly seven decades, since he was a poor kid who sold newspapers in Dorchester, Mass. One business led to another and eventually, he wound up buying a casino and building a convention center in Las Vegas. It brought the city new waves of midweek convention visitors, making Adelson a billionaire. And then he expanded into Asia. He described his original vision this fall at a convention of the American Gaming Association.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

SHELDON ADELSON: Well, if you'd looked at Las Vegas, and you had a couple of big helicopters with big slings, and you put it under the strip, and you picked up the entire strip with all of the properties abutting it and bring it over to Asia - could you succeed?

OVERBY: The answer was, you bet. Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.