Higher odds for Sands to venture into online gambling

Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS), the parent company of Sands China Ltd, may venture into sports betting — an arena its founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson who passed away at 87 on Tuesday — had long been at odds with.
The business proposition was first mentioned in Bloomberg’s report on January 9, which quoted people “familiar with the situation”. The news came two days after LVS released a statement about Adelson stepping aside from the helm for cancer treatment.
Robert Goldstein has taken the reins as acting CEO. It is said that Goldstein had already engaged in discussions with potential partners to push the group onto the sports betting stage.
The new venture may involve using “the Sands brands” or “the broader development of a betting platform by the company,” according to Bloomberg.
Carving out a platform for sports betting necessitates the means of online gambling. The late Adelson had a long history speaking against online wagering based on altruistic justifications, claiming that the practice is too easy for betters to lose money and will ultimately jeopardize the society.
To this end, the casino mogul had launched public campaigns against online gambling since 2012, and enlisted lawyers and lobbyists to impel the United States Congress to ban online wagering.
Back in 2013, the CEO vowed he was “willing to spend whatever it takes” to stop online gambling in the United States.
It sounds like paradoxical behaviour for a billionaire, the head of the U.S.’s largest casino, who made money off gamblers to ban online gaming — especially when most of his competitors like MGM Resorts believe online gambling, if well regulated, can be safe and a boon to the industry.
“I am in favor of [gambling] as a form of entertainment, but I am not in favor of it exploiting the world’s most vulnerable people,” he said in 2014 during a talk at a university in Las Vegas.
By far, Sands is the only major U.S.-based player without a sports-betting strategy in the pipeline.
Unlike Sands, many industry players have been eager to secure a slice of the pie from online wagering, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states beyond Nevada can introduce online wagering.
Online gambling has been blossoming at a rapid pace ever since.
Since the ruling, 19 states have brought sports betting into force, whilst six more have legalized it and are in the implementation process, according the American Gaming Association.
The pandemic has propelled the Sands group to a huge financial loss. In October 2020, LVS announced a plan to sell off its Las Vegas properties for some USD6 billion.
Some say it is a logical choice for LVS to take up online gambling to generate much-needed cashflow during the economic fallout.
The casino mogul passed away on January 12 at his home in Las Vegas owing to complications related to the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to the Jerusalem Post.

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