Las Vegas Sands focused on Asian land-based recovery

Marina Bay Sands Las Vegas Sands

Marina Bay Sands Las Vegas Sands

Las Vegas Sands has asserted that it remains committed to its digital investment strategy, despite acknowledging that, at the current time, the group is focused on land-based recovery.

After voicing an expectation of exploring multiple online and land-based growth opportunities, with New York, Texas, and Florida mooted, earlier in the year, the company has issued an update that Singapore and Macau recoveries are now the focal point.

However, on the Empire State, the company did note that despite having nothing new to report, the prospects presented by the region make it increasingly appealing.

“We have a plan in place,” noted Rob Goldstein, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of LVS, in addition to suggesting that “we’re one of many in the hunt there” that are awaiting the RFP process to unfold.

Subsequently, he moved on to elaborate on the group’s immediate focus after being quizzed on online gaming and sports betting developments. 

“We didn’t have an update. We didn’t mention it. We’re focused right now on what’s happening. We remain committed to our digital investments and looking at that market,” he added.

“But right now, the story for us is this land-based recovery, which we’re filling in Singapore. And we made some major strides in this company in terms of liquidity, the reopening of Singapore, and we think the upside potential in Singapore, the licensing process and how we’re focused on that. 

“And of course, most importantly, the return to a normalised operating environment in Macau is paramount. We’ve just been so busy with that.

“The focus wasn’t on digitally right now. We continue to look at that opportunity. We continue to invest. We made two investments, as you know, in the past. So just simply we’re focused right now on land based.”

The comments comes as LVS discloses its performance through the year’s second quarter, which saw revenue drop 11.4 per cent year-on-year to $1.05bn (2021: $1.17bn).

Operating and net losses increased slightly from $139m and $280m to $147m and $414m, respectively, with adjusted property EBITDA down 14.3 per cent to $244m (2021: $209m).

A further area of focus on the group’s earnings call was continuing recovery of Asian market, with LVA having commenced a $1bn capital investment at a Marina Bay Sands property that the firm views as “the best building in the world”.

Amid expectation of a “more robust recovery over time” in Singapore, the group also awaits current restrictions to be relaxed in Macau where casinos are expected to be permitted to open from Saturday (Friday 23, 2022).

“We retain great optimism and our ability to perform to pre-pandemic levels and beyond the Macau visitation returns,” Goldstein noted. 

“We would welcome the opportunity to invest billions of additional dollars in Macau, we continue to believe Macau is an outstanding market for additional investment. 

“We can see our portfolio of resorts in Asia to be an ideal platform for growth in the years ahead and additionally, we continue to pursue other opportunities in large land-based destination resorts in the US and Asia.”

Elsewhere, Patrick Dumont, President and Chief Operating Officer of LVS, also moved to put distance between the company and an active M&A scene that dominates much of the global gambling landscape. 

“As a practical matter we’re not an M&A-driven business” it is asserted, with a focus of developing resorts from the ground up to retain the prime strategy moving forward.

“So I think one of the things as a company that all through the pandemic and part of the pandemic, we’ve always focused on is how we allocate capital and how we drive the highest returns for shareholders,” Dumon said.

“And you may have heard in the past, say, that our highest and best use of capital is to do new development from the ground up. 

“And that’s really what we’re focused on. If you look at the history of the company and success and the way it’s delivered outside shareholder returns, it is exploiting a strategy of building large-scale integrated resorts in new jurisdictions.”

Continuing: “I think for us, our priorities are going to be to look for new markets, develop, build and scale and invest over the long term to create sustainable and durable returns. 

“And that’s really what we’re going to look to do. So I understand that there’s variability, particularly in the digital side, there’s a lot of things that have valuations now that made people see them as compelling for the long term. There’s perhaps some land-based opportunities that may come up over time.

“But as a practical matter, like everyone else, we’ll look at it, see if it makes any sense for us, but we’re really going to be focused on route of development. That’s who we are.”

Author: Ava Harvey