Sands eyes off greater Singapore investment

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Sands eyes off greater Singapore investment

Major global casino operator Las Vegas Sands is poised to invest more heavily into the Singapore market, following the sale of its Vegas assets.

GGR Asia reports that the group’s president and chief operating officer Patrick Dumont made the announcement, following its decision to sell off its Las Vegas gaming and non-gaming assets for US$6.25 billion.

The deal includes the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Las Vegas Sands is the parent of Macau casino operator Sands china and of Marina Bay Sands, the operator of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino resort.

Mr Dumont told investors that the company was keen in investing more in Singapore given the return profile of that market.

“Given the Las Vegas transaction, we are looking to invest more in Singapore at this point,” said the executive.

“We are very privileged to have reached an agreement for a new development there, for expanding Marina Bay Sands,” he added.

Las Vegas Sands is to invest an additional US$3.3 billion to expand Marina Bay Sands in return for an extension, until the existing duopoly, of its gaming rights in Singapore.

The company will build a fourth tower adjacent to its existing complex.

The expansion plans also include a 15,000-seat arena and a new luxury all-suite hotel with about 1,000 rooms, topped with a sky roof.

“We are very focused on Marina Bay Sands. We also intend to invest significantly in the existing towers, to ensure that the property remains competitive in the future,” he said.

Robert Goldstein, Las Vegas Sands’ chairman and chief executive, also said on the JP Morgan forum that the company was “eager to deploy capital and reinvest” in Macau and Singapore, “where the return on investment is higher than in Las Vegas.”

“I believe the Macau government, as part of the licence renewal process, will come to us and mandate, or ask us, to spend more dollars, large capital dollars to grow our business, which we would be delighted to spend as much as they want,” Mr Goldstein said.

Gaming licence renewal of no concern for Sands’ Macau operations

Macau’s current six gaming licences expire in June 2022.

The city’s chief executive can extend the existing concessions for an aggregate of up to five years, as allowed under the current gaming law.

“We believe Macau is a big growth market for us, far beyond what we were doing previously.

“We would love to deploy more capital in that market,” the chief executive said.

Mr Goldstein also said the company would be willing to invest capital in revamping part of its existing portfolio in Macau, or even developing a new property.

“It depends on how the Macau government views it. I’m not sure they will allow more casinos, but could be more non-gaming assets”, the executive said.

He added that such new development could be in the group’s existing land or new plots to be granted by the government.

“We don’t worry about Macau licence issues. We have full confidence in our Macau licence and I think we will continue to be in Macau for many decades to come.”

The chief executive said additionally that the sale of the company assets in Las Vegas would allow the group to explore other business opportunities, either in the United States, Asia or online gaming.

“We think there may be more opportunities in other markets in Asia. We’ve pulled out of Japan, but there might be something else in Asia that is opportunistic,” he said.

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