as Vegas Sands Corp. has been in talks with “potential partners” in relation to sports betting and is eyeing the development of a new betting platform, according to Bloomberg.
Robert Goldstein, acting Chief Executive Officer, is in the early stages of talks, but plans could involve using the Sands brands or the broader development of a betting platform by the company, the prestigious news outlet reported.
Sands announced last week that its founder and CEO, Sheldon Adelson, is taking medical leave for cancer treatment. He has previously opposed online wagering, as has lobbied to prevent its legalization at the local and national level, based on moral grounds. Adelson has said he believes online games such as virtual slot machines make it too easy for patrons to lose money.
Sands has long offered a sportsbook in its Venetian resort in Las Vegas, but that business was outsourced to Cantor Gaming, now a part of William Hill, which is being acquired by Caesars Entertainment.
Nineteen states now offer sports betting in the US and six more have approved it and are awaiting implementation, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The market is expected to hit as much as $10 billion by 2025 from about $1.6 billion last year, according to projections from the consulting firm Vixio GamblingCompliance.
“There’s a real pressure to make sure you’re in position to cash in on the pretty substantial thirst for online gambling,” said Chris Grove, an analyst at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC. “A lot of companies were caught by surprise by the kind of explosion it’s received.” A significant example of that is MGM Resorts International's announcement last week of an $11 billion offer for Entain, parent of the Ladbrokes betting shops and other online wagering businesses.
All casino operators, including Sands, have been struggling to cope with a steep drop in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. Betting at the company’s casinos in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Online wagering is seen as a way for land-based casino operators to diversify.
Adelson has also proposed selling the company’s Las Vegas resorts if he can get the $6 billion price he’s looking for. That money could be reinvested in new markets, such as New York or Texas, if those states allow expanded casino opportunities, or in the company’s existing markets in Asia, which make up the bulk of Sands’ revenue.