Las Vegas Sands is making a push into sports betting. A report from Bloomberg last week said that its acting chief executive officer Robert Goldstein is in the early stages of private talks with potential partners in the sports betting industry.
The company has long operated a retail sportsbook at its Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas. However, these were outsourced to Cantor Gaming which is now a part of William Hill US, which in turn was acquired by Sands’ rival Caesars Entertainment Inc.
One of the strongest Balance Sheets
Often praised by industry analysts as having one of the strongest balance sheets among peer casino operators, Las Vegas Sands has enough resources to become a big player in the sports betting industry. It has a market capitalization of $44.42B and if Adelson’s proposal to sell the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Convention Center in the Las Vegas Strip, that would potentially be another $6B of assets.
Las Vegas Sands is the biggest casino company in the world. However, it is the only United States-based casino operator which has not yet adopted a sports betting plan despite the U.S. sports betting market expanding rapidly since the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 over two years ago.
Adelson’s Opposition to Online Gaming
Venturing into sports betting may mean embracing online gaming which has often come along with it. It can be recalled that Las Vegas Sands founder and longtime CEO Sheldon Adelson, who recently took a medical leave of absence, was always opposed to online gaming. The billionaire has always been among those who lobbied to prevent the legalization of online betting based on moral ground. Adelsen believed that online games like virtual slots made it very easy for players to lose money.
But like all the other casino operators, Las Vegas Sands is struggling to cope with the limitations brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has substantially affected the casino industry since March 2020. Even Sands’ properties outside the U.S. like Macau and Singapore are struggling with their bottom line figures. With no end to the pandemic yet in sight, online gaming has been viewed as one of the best ways for land-based casinos to diversify operations and generate more income.