October 20, 2023
Las Vegas Sands, the U.S-based global casino operator, has reported strong financial figures in Q3 2023. But the company has not recovered as quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic as many U.S. operators have.
That’s because it sold its Nevada casinos venues in Las Vegas in 2020, and currently only runs casinos in Asian markets, such as Marina Bay Sands (pictured). Those countries took longer to ease pandemic restrictions than the U.S. did.
Nevertheless, Las Vegas Sands is finally rebounding. For the third quarter of this year, the operator pulled in $1.12 billion in adjusted property earnings and $2.8 billion in revenue. That’s nearing pre-pandemic levels, with adjusted earnings only off by 6% from the same period in 2019.
Revenues are also up significantly on the $2.54 billion the company posted in Q3 2023.
The company announced earnings of 55 cents per share on that revenue figure, with earnings in line with expectations and revenue slightly topping estimates.
“We were pleased to see the recovery in travel and tourism spending in both Macao and Singapore progress during the quarter. We remain deeply enthusiastic about our opportunities for growth in both markets in the years ahead,” said Sands chairman and CEO Robert G. Goldstein, in a press release.
Singapore and Macao Rebound
In Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands is posting numbers that have surpassed pre-pandemic levels in gaming, retail shopping, and other spending, even though visitation is still lower.
Profit margins at the architecturally impressive casino resort have reached more than 48%. Sands has also invested in improving the luxury suites at the hotel, as well as airlift helicopter services for high-end guests arriving from China.
“In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands again delivered outstanding levels of financial and operating performance. Our new suite product and elevated service offerings position us to deliver future growth as airlift capacity continues to improve and the recovery in travel and tourism spending from China and the wider region continues,” Goldstein said.
In Macau, where visitation is still off about 15% from pre-pandemic levels, Sands reported that its occupancy in the third quarter was 96% higher than before Covid lockdowns, and customers are spending more per person.
Across the Macau market, mass gaming revenue reached 92% of 2019 third-quarter levels, or $5.1 billion. Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein predicted that the destination could hit $40 billion annually in the near term.
As cash flow increases, Las Vegas Sands is laying out new priorities for capital expenditures. It will continue its remodel of Marina Bay Sands, resulting in nearly four times the number of suites, which command greater prices. In Macau, the second phase of construction begins on British-themed casino The Londoner Macau, the newest offering in the portfolio.
Shares and Future Plans
Las Vegas Sands also announced a $2 billion share repurchase plan through 2025. Patrick Dumont, Las Vegas Sands president, indicated that the company has shifted how it wants to return capital to shareholders, relying more on buybacks than on the dividends embraced by his late father-in-law, Sheldon Adelson.
Goldstein says that the shares are trading behind recent updates, providing buying opportunities, especially when Sands is sitting on $5.6 billion in cash.
In terms of future plans, Las Vegas Sands has proposed a return to the U.S. casinos market with a planned $5 billion casino resort in Nassau County on Long Island, New York.
The company’s competitors in the race for three licenses to open new downstate New York casino venues include Caesars and Jay-Z, local real-estate tycoon Larry Silverstein, Bally’s golf course venue in the Bronx and Wynn Resorts at Hudson Yards.
New York gambling regulators recently answered two batches of questions from interested operators regarding the licensing application process, although there’s no firm date on when that will begin as of yet.
In the meantime, Las Vegas Sands’ owner Miriam Adelson, widow of the late Sheldon Adelson, remains the richest casino owner in the world, with some $35 billion in personal fortune.