As the largest gaming and entertainment corporation in the world, Las Vegas Sands grew and prospered on land-based casino gambling.
Company founder Sheldon Adelson openly voiced his opposition to online gambling in any form. The billionaire spent millions over the years fighting the expansion of legal iGaming in the US.
After passing away in January of this year at the age of 87, his company appears to be moving in a different direction these days.
Robert Goldstein was elevated to the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation as Adelson’s successor.
In a recent company address, he mentioned the need to explore “meaningful opportunities to make investments.” He also mentioned that these opportunities should be able to “generate significant long-term benefits for the company.”
As a move in that direction, the company stated that it will be building ‘a digital gaming investment team’ headed up by Davis Catlin. For the past 14 years, he has been an independent private investments specialist for Sands Capital Management.
The writing could finally be on the wall for LV Sands with more than 15 states offering legal online sports betting through the web and mobile sportsbook apps.
New Jersey is the biggest market in the country for legal sports betting in terms of monthly betting volume. It is estimated that more than 90% of the state’s betting handle comes from mobile wagers.
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Legal online casino gambling has expanded to five states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania as the two biggest markets. This base is also likely to expand in the coming years.
Earlier this year, LV Sands sold off The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and The Palazzo luxury hotel for $6.25 billion. These were the company’s final two properties in Las Vegas. This was part of the company’s strategy of exiting the land-based US casino industry.
The biggest casino holdings are in the Asian casino market in Macau and Singapore. Without a land-based casino presence in the US, the move towards digital gaming makes even more sense.
The issue at hand is the gap between LV Sands and its US competition. MGM Resorts International owns and operates the third-largest legal US sportsbook brand in BetMGM.
Caesars Entertainment acquired UK sports betting giant William Hill as part of its strategy to get a piece of the legal US sports betting industry. The company has also expanded its online gaming business through CaesarsCasino.com.
Wynn Resorts was late to the party but this Las Vegas gaming giant has invested heavily in the expansion of WynnBET as its mobile sportsbook app.
While LV Sands is the last holdout, every other US land-based casino operator has invested heavily in the expansion of its iGaming and online sports betting capabilities.
Penn National Gaming bought a significant equity stake in Barstool Sports as a way to enter the legal online sports betting market. Bally’s Corporation formed an interactive division through the purchase of Bet.Works sports betting platform.
LV Sands still has the clout and financial resources to make a major impact in the legal US iGaming and online sports betting industry. It will be interesting to see what the company’s next move will be.