Sheldon Adelson’s Casino and Convention Business Was a Success
The recent passing of casino mogul & philanthropist Sheldon Adelson caught many by surprise. Mr. Adelson was an interesting person and a staunch supporter of the things he believed in. One of those things was the casino & convention business as a success.
When he first ventured into Macau back in 1999, only a decade after Chinese authorities cracked down on the local organized crime groups known as triads, many thought Mr. Adelson was out of his mind.
Yet, Sheldon Adelson got the last laugh when his business plan quickly proved to be a success. He opened Sands Macau and recuperated his investment only months after opening, shaping Macau as a new promised land for gambling, leisurely tourism and business.
It’s through his business acumen that Macau welcomed the first Las Vegas-style casinos and saw an exponential growth of its tourism & gaming sector, with the industry proving the main driver of gross domestic product (GDP) for years to come.
Why was Adelson’s casino & convention idea a success?
Mr. Adelson didn’t start with casinos. His first foray was into the convention business, and he didn’t even think about venturing into casinos. Yet, a good business opportunity was never too far from Mr. Adelson’s mind and in 1979 he founded the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, using it as the basis of his business.
Talking, communicating and pitching business ideas were his forte and his drive would eventually lead to the creation of Las Vegas Sands in November, 1988. LVS is one of the most successful gaming companies in the world to date, and possibly the strongest brick-and-mortar operator of casino brands.
More importantly, the company is the realization of Mr. Adelson’s idea that conventions can serve as a stepping-stone for business, something that has been clearly demonstrated under his success at the helm of Las Vegas Sands.
Despite his passing, the company he built will not show any signs of slowdown in pursuing some of its key objectives in the new decade.
What’s in for Las Vegas Sands from now on?
Moving forward, Las Vegas Sands should continue with its outlined business plan under Mr. Adelson’s rule. Shortly before the chief executive passed, rumors began swirling that Las Vegas Sands is looking to enter the sports betting game.
The rumors were then substantiated by numerous publications, including Melanie Porter from GamblingNews, a dedicated industry that covers the B2B and B2C segment in sports betting, casinos and poker.
A move into sports betting is exciting and it aligns neatly with another announcement that the company is looking for lobbyists in Texas. In fact, people have already been hired to see the realization of casino projects in Texas, one of the more conservative states in the United States.
Far from a whim, Mr. Adelson’s legacy is going to live on. Surrounding himself with trusted partners and individuals whose respect he’s earned, he may not be physically overseeing the future of his company, but his identity and business determination that has permeated LVS’s boards.
Mr. Adelson’s direction of the company has been felt in the past few years, and even though the company had to divest some real estate in 2020, it didn’t let down its employees during the pandemic, and was in fact the only company out of all Las Vegas casino giants to continue paying employees’ salaries and health benefits.
This was Mr. Adelson’s decision on a personal level, as he was committed to making sure his employees are well taken care of during those troubling times. At the same time, Mr. Adelson demonstrated impressive optimism.
Despite the economic hardship he was repeatedly saying that better times are coming and that Macau will rebound. Many started divesting their real estate fearing that this way their company would carry too much risk, but Mr. Adelson remained confident that the panic was unnecessary, albeit with a few contingencies in place.
Asia’s push continues under board of directors
This year will be largely about recovery. Las Vegas Sands will be looking to restore its operational results both at home and specifically in Macau. Macau’s results are expected to reach around 80-90% of 2019’s gaming revenue in 2021, which is definitely not a bad number.
There is a lot to strategize about when it comes to Asia and the Chinese enclave in particular. For starters, for Macau, 2021 will also be a pivotal year during which the region will try to move away from its dependency on gambling products.
Tourism is an important part of that and thanks to Mr. Adelson’s convention legacy, the local casinos operated and owned by Las Vegas Sands will actually be in a position to adapt themselves to this change and move forward.
Another important aspect of the Asian pivot for the company is whether Las Vegas Sands will venture into the Japanese integrated resort project mulled by Tokyo authorities. The company has had to withdraw from the bidding process for the first such project, but rumor is that it may have resuscitated its bid.
The uncertainties about the retail casino sector have been mounting, but LVS is navigating smartly, and not at the expense of its workforce, as recent events in Las Vegas demonstrated.
Entertainment to become focus of LVS
A good guess for the future is that LVS will default to Mr. Adelson’s original legacy – conventions, entertainment and business. Casinos are clearly an undeniable part of the company’s identity, but some restructuring is expected with regards to boosting the entertainment segment once again.
On top of that, the rumors that LVS may be the giant to throw its hat in the sports betting ring definitely sound plausible, and there is nothing to suggest otherwise. Sports betting will be well-developed by 2030 to the point where the industry will only be bigger in China, but the U.S. will hold a strong second position.
LVS can jump on this opportunity now and later expand in Latin America or leverage its expertise in Macau, Chinese authorities permitting.