Sands to sell Las Vegas casinos, to focus on Singapore, Macau

NEW YORK: Las Vegas Sands, founded by late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, will sell its Vegas properties for US$6.25 billion (S$8.33 billion), exiting the United States gambling hot spot after three decades to focus on Asia, home to Singapore and the world's largest gambling hub, Macau.

Las Vegas Sands is also shortening its name to Sands as a result of leaving Las Vegas, CNN reported. In a press release, Mr Adelson's company said the change is "bittersweet" and will help it focus on faster growing markets, such as Asia.

The sale comes nearly two months after the death of Mr Adelson - widely credited with helping transform the Chinese territory of Macau from a den of hardcore gambling parlours into a centre of luxury resorts and convention centres with revenue that now dwarfs Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Sands said the deal underscores its strategy of reinvesting in its Asian operations, with a focus on Macau and Singapore, where it owns the Marina Bay Sands casino resort.

Macau and Singapore accounted for 48 per cent and 35 per cent of the company's total revenue last year, respectively, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The properties being sold by the casino operator include the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. A possible sale of the properties was widely reported late last year.

The gambling industry, which thrives on air travel and large groups of people in close proximity, has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For last year, Las Vegas Sands reported a loss of US$1.69 billion, the biggest in its history, as travel restrictions and lockdowns brought the gambling industry to a virtual standstill.

Apollo Global Management's affiliate-managed funds will buy the operating company of the Venetian for US$2.25 billion, and VICI Properties will buy the land and real estate assets of the Venetian for US$4 billion. - REUTERS