PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
POWER SCORE: 1,689
POSITION LAST YEAR: 10
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Experienced government and political operator with mainland China connections
- Extensive work in property development
LAS VEGAS SANDS (LVS) has long been established as a true giant of the global gaming industry, but it is the here and now that promises to shape what the company looks like in another 10 years’ time.
With the sale of its Las Vegas assets for US$6.25 billion in March, LVS announced to the world that its future was very much in Asia, and predominantly Macau, where local subsidiary Sands China dominates the Cotai Strip.
With a promise to keep investing in the SAR, that places Sands China President Wilfred Wong very much front and center.
Yet his importance to Sands China is much more significant than mere expansion. With the gaming licenses of Macau’s six casino concessionaires all expiring on 26 June 2022, Wong’s political connections will be vital in ensuring the company maintains its presence moving forward, while recent submissions surrounding proposed amendments to Macau’s gaming law will undoubtedly have been made at least partially under his guidance.
It is for this very reason that Sands China first sought Wong’s services when he was appointed President and COO back in November 2015. Originally a civil servant with the Hong Kong government, he was closely involved in discussions with mainland China around the city’s Basic Law during the handover in 1997. Building on the relationships he developed during Hong Kong’s transition, Wong later served as a deputy to China’s National People’s Congress from 1997 to 2013.
Those diplomatic skills have certainly been put to good use given recent tensions between China and the US, home to LVS, although Wong has made sure the company’s Macau subsidiary has remained a good corporate citizen despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nor can Sands China be accused of skimping on Macau investment. In February, the company opened the doors to the first phase of a US$2 billion project transforming Sands Cotai Central into The Londoner Macao, replicating the European themes that have proved so popular at neighboring The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao.
Targeted towards the highly lucrative premium mass segment, the upgrade has already seen the old Holiday Inn Macao converted into the 600-suite Londoner Hotel, while the coming months will see the property completed with the addition of a new 6,000-seat Londoner Arena, expanded Shoppes at Londoner retail space and the 370-room residential-style all-suite hotel Londoner Court, formerly St Regis Tower Suites, plus a brand-new exterior featuring detailed replicas of some of Britain’s most famous landmarks.
Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein has also vowed to invest another US$10 billion into Macau, suggesting the company’s work in Asia is only just beginning.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.