as Vegas Sands said Tuesday it has named long-time company executive Robert G. Goldstein Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, taking the place of the late Sheldon Adelson.
Goldstein had assumed the role as acting Chairman and CEO on January 7, 2021. Also, Patrick Dumont has been named President and Chief Operating Officer, and Randy Hyzak will now serve as Chief Financial Officer. Dumont previously served as EVP and CFO, while Hyzak was Chief Accounting Officer.
Sheldon G. Adelson, who was the company's founder, chairman and chief executive officer since its inception, passed away on January 11 at the age of 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"Mr. Adelson's leadership guided us to the top of our industry, and his legacy lives on through the company's 50,000 team members and the iconic properties he developed around the world," Goldstein said. "Our spirits have been dimmer in these few weeks since his passing, but the future of the company he founded shines bright. He would expect nothing less than an aggressive pursuit of the work he started, and I am determined to lead this company forward in a way that best honors his vision."
Goldstein joined the company in 1995 and became a member of the Board of Directors in January 2015. Prior to this appointment, he had served as President and COO since January 2015. His previous roles with the company include president of global gaming operations and executive vice president and president and chief operating officer of The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas.
"Mr. Adelson established the roadmap for the future of this company, and that roadmap is unchanged. I am dedicated to working with Rob and our leadership team to make our strategic objectives a reality," said Dumont. "Our path forward is clear and remains true to the principles our founder was committed to for so many years – we will continue supporting our people and the local communities in which we operate, reinvesting in our current markets, producing strong returns for our shareholders and aggressively pursuing new development opportunities."
Las Vegas Sands is pressing forward with its ambitious drive to bring casinos to Texas after a series of recent developments, including the death of its CEO and founder. Late last year, the company built a high-powered lobby team and made clear it saw Texas as its next big expansion opportunity — "the biggest plum still waiting" in the industry.
But since then, Comptroller Glenn Hegar released a fiscal forecast for the state that was much better than expected, quieting what had been mounting conversations about how gambling could be a new tax revenue source for the state. Then came the death of Adelson, and then the new state House speaker, Dade Phelan, delivered his first public assessment of the push, saying casinos needed to be treated as a "long-term commitment" and not a short-term panacea for the state's fiscal challenges.
Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands' senior vice president of government affairs, told Texas Tribune that the company was undeterred. "The possibilities for expanding Texas’ tourism offerings are exciting, and we look forward to working with lawmakers this session to present the potential opportunities that exist for robust, long-term economic development and jobs for the state," Abboud said.
Las Vegas Sands' Texas lobby team has kept growing at a brisk pace, ballooning to 51 members, according to registrations with the Texas Ethics Commission as of Tuesday. The company is spending anywhere from $2.3 million to $4.5 million on the lobby stable, according to the state records, which only provide pay ranges for individual lobbyists.
The company continues to bring on influential names like John Colyandro, a former senior adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott, and recently added Leticia Van de Putte, the former state senator from San Antonio and 2014 nominee for lieutenant governor.
Texas Taxpayers and Research Association's President, Dale Craymer, said it was always going to be a stretch for casinos to be part of a short-term budget fix given the "long lead time to get them up and running and generating revenue." For that reason, Craymer added, "ultimately gambling may be a part of the budget solution — just it may be a part of tomorrow's solution rather than today’s."
“It probably makes it a tougher vote for some legislators given the way the numbers [from Hegar] panned out, but it’s not just a revenue issue in all honesty," Craymer said. "It’s also an economic issue. We think about casinos for the potential tax money they bring, but they always bring substantial investment, substantial tourism and substantial employment.”
Texas currently has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country, but there are a few exceptions where the practice is allowed, such as bingo, the state lottery and at horse or greyhound dog races. Through court decisions and legislation in the 1980s, three federally recognized Native American tribes operate casinos with limited games — in Eagle Pass, El Paso and Livingston.