Bernstein: Thailand potentially LVS’s next investment


Brokerage firm Bernstein has suggested that Thailand might be the “major country” Las Vegas Sands (LVS) executives were referring to when discussing the prospect of investing in a new integrated resort in Asia.

Recently, the chairman and CEO of LVS, Rob Goldstein, announced that the company is looking at building an integrated resort with a similar scale to Marina Bay Sands – but did not disclose which country would host the resort.

“A lot of countries in Asia have reached out to us over the years, but nothing’s happened. This one feels like it might be a major prospect. A major country, a top-tier country. I hope it’s real,” said Goldstein. 

According to the executive, the company has had “some rather interesting conversations with a major country there that has reached out to us.”

Late last year, Thailand announced that integrated resorts could soon be a reality in the country, with the government creating five different casino sub-committees.

In light of this, analyst Vitaly Umansky said in a note that LVS may be referring to Thailand, noting that the Thai government has taken a step further in integrated resort exploration. 

“We believe LVS is hinting at a potential opportunity in Thailand, which has seen an increase in interest from the government in looking at gaming legalization,” said the Bernstein analyst.

“This is not the first time Thailand has been talked about as a gaming opportunity. The market potential could be substantial; however, as with all gaming legalizations, the devil is in the details,” he added.

Meanwhile, Goldstein has stressed  that its plans in Japan are over.

In May 2020, the casino operator formally withdrew its interest in Japan, citing concerns about the legal and regulatory framework in the country. Among the issues at stake were the high costs of developing an integrated resort, a relatively high level of taxation on gaming activities and likely restrictions on gambling by Japanese nationals.

“We went through a lot of work in Japan and it was very disappointing. […] From our perspective, we could never get it to move along to our satisfaction, so we packed up and called it a day,” said the executive.

In the interview, Goldstein also noted that the company’s businesses in Macau and Singapore are the backbone of the firm.

“Singapore’s back to a U.S.-type trajectory. Demand is picking up. It’s opening up and they’ve done a terrific job. But Macau is still struggling. China and Hong Kong are going through a very tough time and our business there has been battered,” said the CEO.

In 2021, total net revenue for Sands China increased to USD2.87 billion, 70.4% up from 2020 revenue, while net losses for the gaming operator were USD1.05 billion in 2021, compared to USD1.52 billion in 2020. 

Goldstein has previously said that, amid the junket turmoil in the city, customers in the junket business will re-emerge in different segments and find new ways to visit the casino.

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