Sands pulling out of Las Vegas to bet big on Asia

By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC News

Published
image copyrightSands China
image captionThe Londoner hotel is currently being built in Macau.

Casino giant Las Vegas Sands is selling its world-famous Venetian casino in a $6.25bn (£4.5bn) deal to invest the money in its Asian businesses.

The sale comes just two months after the death of Sands chief executive and chairman Sheldon Adelson.

Sands will use the proceeds from selling the Venetian to expand its operations in Singapore and Macau.

The firm is currently building a London-themed resort in gaming hub Macau with the help of David Beckham.

Mr Adelson pushed hard into Asia and under his management revenue in Macau overtook that from its Las Vegas operations. He was involved in talks to sell the Las Vegas properties before he died.

"This company is focused on growth, and we see meaningful opportunities on a variety of fronts," said new chairman and chief executive Robert Goldstein.

"Asia remains the backbone of this company and our developments in Macau and Singapore are the centre of our attention."

Its Venetian complex includes the luxury Palazzo hotel and the Sands Expo Convention Center.

London calling

One of Sands' new projects in Asia is the $2bn Londoner Hotel which it hopes will win back tourists to Macau after a dramatic fall in numbers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Londoner Hotel features suites designed by David Beckham, while a Gordon Ramsey restaurant will open later this year.

The resort will also feature a 96-metre tall replica of Big Ben, a Crystal Palace inspired atrium and a full-scale replica of the Eros fountain once building finishes this year.

The casino giant also owns Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

image copyrightSands China
image captionDavid Beckham is the global ambassador for Sands casino group.

"London is an iconic city and we anticipate this addition will further raise the profile of Macau, while increasing the number of visitors as our other flagship properties have done," Sands China president Wilfred Wong told the BBC.

Macau is also betting on technology to help the gambling hub recover from its Covid-19 induced economic slump.

In June the city will host 'Beyond', a technology event loosely modelled on the massive CES trade show in Las Vegas.

"Casino operators have been putting a greater emphasis on lifestyle, tourist attractions and high-level entertainment such as Cirque du Soleil to attract non gamblers," said Benoit Badufle, a luxury tourism expert at Horus consulting firm.

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