New Las Vegas Sands Leadership Sets Future Strategy Amid $1.69bn 2020 Loss

  • Newly appointed LVS CEO Robert Goldstein led his first quarterly call on Wednesday 
  • The company saw revenue drop 67% in Q4 2020 to $1.15bn, while operating loss totaled $211m
  • Goldstein said he aims to follow Sheldon Adelson’s plan for a Macau investment of $5bn to $10bn
  • Texas, New York expansion could be next as LVS explores sports betting, iGaming opportunities
Sands hotel and casino chain logo
Las Vegas Sands’ new CEO, Robert Goldstein, has outlined a number of plans for future growth after the company reported net operating loss of $1.69bn for 2020. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New CEO’s first quarterly call

After announcing its operating loss of $1.69bn for the full-year 2020, Las Vegas Sands’ (LVS) new leadership team has outlined plans for the company’s future.

Goldstein’s appointment follows the death of former chief executive Sheldon Adelson

Robert Goldstein led his first quarterly call on Wednesday after LVS named him company chairman and CEO on Tuesday. Goldstein’s appointment follows the death of former chief executive Sheldon Adelson, who passed away on January 11. Patrick Dumont also joined the leadership team as president and chief operating officer, while Randy Hyzak became chief financial officer.

The company’s strategy for future growth includes investment in new verticals and markets. Goldstein said LVS intends to increase its commitment to the Macau market. He also outlined plans for expansion in Texas and New York, along with future investment in sports betting and online gaming.

LVS posts fourth quarter results

For the fourth quarter of 2020, LVS’s net revenue was $1.15bn, corresponding to a drop of 67% year-on-year. The company saw operating loss of $211m, a significant shift from the $934m profit generated in 2019. Net loss totaled $376m, compared to net income of $783m the year before.

COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on LVS’s financial results

Over the entire year, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on LVS’s financial results. The hotel and gaming operator reported revenue of $3.61bn, down 280% from 2019’s figure. As usual, its casino segment generated the most revenue in 2020, but it still showed a 333% drop to $2.27bn. In 2019, LVS generated operating income of $3.69bn, suffering a loss of $1.69bn in 2020.

Despite the significant losses experienced in Q4, Goldstein insisted he was “optimistic” about the future of the company. The CEO described continued COVID-19 recovery in the Macau and Singapore markets specifically. He also said the company was “fortunate” thanks to its “financial strength” in supporting “growth opportunities in new markets.”

Up to $10bn for Macau

During Wednesday’s fourth-quarter call, Goldstein outlined plans for further investment in Macau. The Chinese region is an important market for LVS, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s revenue in 2019.

According to Goldstein, former CEO Sheldon Adelson believed the company should invest a further $5bn to $10bn in Macau. Goldstein said he intended to follow Adelson’s plan once the Macau government permits LVS another license in 2022. “When the Macanese government makes its decision I think we will continue upon a rather solid capital investment,” he explained.

All of Macau’s casino concessions will expire in 2022. As a result, the Macau government will conduct a license re-tendering process for the region’s six land-based casinos at some point next year. Before this, the government plans to complete a gaming law revision by Q4 2021.

Domestic expansion inbound

When it comes to the US, Goldstein confirmed that the company is considering growth opportunities in both Texas and New York, plus potential expansion into sports betting and online gaming.

Casino gambling is illegal in the Lone Star State. However, in December 2020, The Texas Tribune reported that Sheldon Adelson aimed to change the current situation. The former Sands CEO galvanized a group of high-powered lobbyists for the state’s 2021 legislative session to push for legalization. In Wednesday’s call, Goldstein stated that LVS still aims to expand into Texas whenever possible.

We’ve been looking at New York City for what, 100 years”

The new CEO also has his sights set on New York City, planning to open a Manhattan brick-and-mortar casino in the coming years. The city plans to award three Manhattan casino licenses in 2023, but legislators are now pushing for an earlier date. “We’ve been looking at New York City for what, 100 years. It’s an extraordinarily good opportunity for anybody,” Goldstein explained.

Finally, Goldstein said the company is also exploring opportunities in sports betting and online gaming. Previously, Adelson objected to such verticals because of ethical concerns. However, the new CEO said the verticals were under consideration as part of LVS’s growth plans. “The question is, can we bring something to the table that can make a lot of money,” Goldstein asked.