Las Vegas Sands to invest in online gambling venture

By Mia Chapman Updated
Las Vegas Sands terminates its Macau junket operators

One of the world’s most well renowned gambling companies, Las Vegas Sands, is moving online, establishing a dedicated digital gaming investment team.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Las Vegas Sands will move into the online space, led by Davis Catlin, who joins the company after 14 years with Sands Capital Management.

The new digital gaming investment team will see Sands become a strategic investor in digital gaming technologies, focused primarily in the business-to-business space.

“Sands is determined to grow its leadership position within the industry and is committed to doing that through strategic steps we think best position the company for future growth,” Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive officer Robert Goldstein said.

“Digital gaming and other related offerings are still very much in the early stages of development and we believe there is an outstanding opportunity for us to invest in the technologies being developed.

“We believe our company’s platform, expertise and financial resources, together with the investment team led by Davis, will provide meaningful opportunities to make investments that will generate significant long-term benefits for the company.

“And just as our integrated resorts were not built in a day, by being patient and investing for the long-term, we believe these investments in digital gaming technology will deliver significant returns for the company and its shareholders.”

LVS founder Sheldon Adelson had been a vocal opponent of online gaming, however Goldstein flagged the potential for a move into the online space during an earnings call in January, shortly after Adelson’s passing, amid rumours the company was considering the sale of its Las Vegas assets.

“I have very strong thoughts about online gaming,” he said at the time.

“We are exploring it and if we have something concrete to say we will tell you. Right now, it’s simply exploratory in the same way we explore lots of things over time.”

Following the sale of its Las Vegas portfolio in March 2021 for US$6.25 billion, Sands has pointed to further investment in Asia and development opportunities in Texas and New York City as other potential uses for its sizable bankroll.

Macau in the eyes of Las Vegas Sands investment

In April 2021, it was reported that Las Vegas Sands is considering using some of the proceeds from the sale of its Vegas assets to increase its shareholding in Sands China, its Macau subsidiary.

The possibility was floated by Las Vegas Sands president and chief operating officer Patrick Dumont during the company’s first quarter earnings call, with the company still assessing how best to deploy an impending US$6.25 billion windfall.

Las Vegas Sands currently holds a 69.94 per cent stake in Sands China.

“It’s definitely something that we think about and will consider over time,” Dumont said.

“From our standpoint, we still believe in the long-term future and success of Macau as a world-leading tourism destination and as Rob has said before, we plan to invest more there in non-gaming.

“Where we’re at now is we don’t have the proceeds yet, we’re looking at the options and with a focus on returns.

“We’re looking at new developments, we’re looking at developing more in the markets that we’re in and I think increasing our stake will be something we think about.

“There is a lot of opportunity in front of the company.

“We’re staying patient, we’re looking at it all and we’re going to look at it through different lenses.

Dumont noted that under Hong Kong Stock Exchange rules, a minimum of 25 per cent of shares are required to be held publicly although “there are exceptions”.

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