The Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Robert Goldstein, says he expects the company’s two key Asian markets – Macau and Singapore – to become more profitable than ever before once fully recovered from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goldstein, alongside Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings and MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle, was speaking during a panel session titled “Betting on the Future: Reinventing the Modern Casino” – part of the CNBC Evolve Global Summit broadcast overnight (Macau time).
While much of the hour-long discussion was centered around the strong recovery seen in Las Vegas, which has resulted in record revenues throughout 2022, Goldstein said he expects similar results in Asia as and when it fully opens up. LVS operates Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore and multiple resorts in Macau, including The Venetian, The Parisian and The Londoner on the Cotai Strip.
“Most of Asia’s opening,” he said. “The biggest challenge there is employees and airlift getting in and out of these countries [which is] still challenging into Singapore. But Singapore is leading the way in terms of [it having] a great government, great place to operate. We’re thrilled to be there.
“At its peak [MBS] was a US$1.7 billion [EBITDA] property. My guess is that we’ll do better than that in the future.
“Macau, I find it funny that people question Macau’s return. Of course it’s been a hard couple of years, no question. We employ 33,000 to 34,000 people. We’ve not laid anyone off, we’ve been paying them for 30 months. And it’s a tough time. You’ve got to basically hunker down and wait for it to turn.
“But the idea it doesn’t turn is kind of hard to imagine – it’s going to turn probably this year or next. And when it does, Macau will go back to making – you know, we made at the peak US$3.5 billion EBITDA. I think we’ll make a lot more than that in the future there.”
Billings said he remained concerned for the mental state of his Macau employees with the city currently in the midst of a strict lockdown, but is also bullish on the SAR’s long-term prospects.
“It’s very, very difficult and I appreciate everything [the employees] do for us. It is a difficult time to be there,” he said. “But if you think about the latent demand across the border, you think about the importance of Macau frankly within the Greater Bay area, we’re huge, huge bulls on Macau just like Rob.”
Hornbuckle added, “Macau was seven, eight times [the size of] Las Vegas in scale. I mean, okay? So it comes back half to begin with and then some and then some. It’s the largest gaming market in the world bar none, and it will forever be.”